Slavery by the Numbers

Published:December 1, 2011 by Brendan Wolfe

80: The approximate percentage of enslaved Africans among the total number of people who embarked for the Americas between 1500 and 1820. (Source)

12.5 million: The approximate number of enslaved Africans transported to the Americas between 1500 and 1866. (Source)

35,000: The maximum number of enslaved Africans brought to the area that was or would be the United States in any single year between 1619 and 1865. (Source)

15: The percentage of enslaved Africans who died, on average, during the Middle Passage. (Source)

“They loved this”: How an Alabama public school teacher describes his/her class’s reenactment of the Middle Passage. (Source)

Less than 4: The percentage of the total number of enslaved Africans transported to the New World who were imported to the area that became the United States. (Source)

90: The percentage of the total number of enslaved Africans transported to the New World who were imported to Brazil and the Caribbean. (Source)

33: The percentage of South Carolina’s enslaved labor force early in the 1700s made up of American Indians. (Source)

4 to 1: The ratio of white servants to enslaved Africans in Virginia late in the 1670s. (Source)

4 to 1: The ratio of enslaved Africans to white servants in Virginia early in the 1690s. (Source)

1 in 7: Chance that a New York State resident in 1776 was enslaved. (Source)

25: The approximate percentage of the total number of enslaved Africans transported to the Americas who came after Britain outlawed the slave trade in 1807. (Source)

$97,100,000,000,000: Estimated value of the labor performed by black slaves in America between 1619 and 1865, compounded at 6 percent interest through 1993. (Source)

1: Votes by which eighteenth-century lawmakers in the United States rejected outlawing slavery in all future states beyond the original thirteen. (Source)

55: The number of white people killed in Southampton County, Virginia, during Nat Turner’s rebellion in August 1831. (Source)

15: Votes by which Virginia lawmakers rejected outlawing slavery in the commonwealth on January 25, 1832. (Source)

500: Estimated number of anti-slavery petitions sent to the United States Congress between 1835 and 1836. (Source)

7.5: Percentage of all free blacks in the United States in 1830 who owned slaves. (Source)

12: Percentage of all free blacks in Virginia in 1830 who owned slaves. (Source)

1 to 1: Ratio of the average 1850 price in Texas of a healthy male slave to that of 200 acres of prime farmland. (Source)

490,865: Total number of slaves in Virginia in 1860. (Source)

30.7: Percentage of slaves among total Virginia population in 1860. (Source)

52.2: Percentage of slaves among total Albemarle County, Virginia, population in 1860. (Source)

$15: Price an Indiana historical museum charged in 1999 for visitors to spend 90 minutes as a runaway slave. (Source)

2 to 1: Estimated ratio of white to black runaways in an Indiana historical museum’s slavery reenactments in 1999. (Source)

2: Number of months after the Civil War ended that slaves in Texas were told of their emancipation. (Source)

UPDATE: Go here for updated source information.

IMAGE: Middle Passage by Robert Claiborne Morris

Discussion

83 Comments on “Slavery by the Numbers”

  1. Heather

    Regarding the fact that slaves in Texas did not learn of their emancipation until two months after the war (and 2 1/2 years after the Emancipation Proclamation)– see the significance of “Juneteenth”. As a native Virginian, I learned this when I lived in Texas.

    1. Katherine

      FYI Gen Granger and 2000 federal troops landed on Galveston Island on June 18th The next day Gen. Granger stated with the emancipation that “The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.” On June 23 the last Confederate General surrendered in Oklahoma. Communication was slow back in the day

    2. Ron

      Just remember that Abe Lincoln was NOT President of the southern states. Also, he did not free the slaves of the northern states. He had not authority to do so. Congress has that power, not the executive branch. Lincoln did that hoping that blacks would be a strong military force against the South.

      1. General Chaos

        If southern secession had succeeded your comment about Lincoln not being President of southern states might be true, but given US victory, is not true. A President’s LEGAL authority does not go away because the de facto ability to rule over territory in rebellion is temporarily absent.

        On freeing southern slaves, in times of rebellion, when Congressional and judicial ruling cannot be enacted, the declaration of martial law has been invoked in the US on several occasions. So given that status, the President did have the authority to free slaves in the South under martial law, but he could not do so in the North because Congress and the courts were functional so it had to come through the legislative path if it were to happen.

  2. Brendan Wolfe Post author

    Thanks for your comment, Heather. You are correct: the origins of the Juneteenth holiday date to the day, two months after the end of the war, when slaves in Texas were informed that they actually were former slaves. Which is to say, free men and women.

  3. Alan Glover

    What was the total American population of Black slaves from 1619 to 1865, including those born here?

    1. andrei lampkin

      I would like to know the answer to this question. I would also like to know the percentage of native Americans who owned slaves in America.

      1. James

        Interesting family history- paternal great grand fathers in Mississippi were married to wealthy native american women. The picture of these 4 GP is very obvious. My father, born in 1905 could speak Choctaw in at least one song that he was taught as an infant. Yes, these native american women had slaves.

      2. Brendan Wolfe Post author

        Thanks for your comment. I wish you luck in finding that information. We are currently at work on an entry about the enslavement of Indians in Virginia that includes context on the longstanding Indian practice of enslaving others and trading in those slaves. For more information on Indian slavery in general, these sources might be a helpful starting place:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slavery_among_Native_Americans_in_the_United_States

        http://bit.ly/1VXOYaD

        http://williamlkatz.com/africans-indians-only-america/

        http://african-nativeamerican.blogspot.com/2012/04/abolitionist-newspapers-discuss-slavery.html

    2. Brendan Wolfe Post author

      Thanks for the comment, Mr. Glover. I have no idea and it would be challenging, to say the least, to come up with such a number. You could add up all the census data, but you would need to tweak it so as not to count individuals more than once. That is very difficult without knowing more specific information about slaves’ identities (names, ages, etc.). And the domestic slave trade created more demographic challenges by moving many enslaved people from one part of the United States to another.

      Most historians tend to focus on numbers associated with a specific place and period in time.

    1. Gary Herpst

      At the peak of black slavery in the South, only 6 percent of Southern whites owned slaves. If you include the white people in the North, it means that only 1.4 percent of white Americans owned black slaves at the HEIGHT of slavery.

      General Grant owned slave during the Civil War, but General Lee set his slaves free in the 1840s

      An estimated 3,000 blacks owned a total of 20,000 black slaves in the year 1860.

      1. Katie

        In 1860, 25% of white families in the south owned slaves. In Mississippi, 49% of white families were slave owners.

        But I was able to find where you got your info – a meme. I found an article that explains the discrepancies. Essentially, the statistics you give are from a census from 1860, after slavery was outlawed in many states. The meme states, “at the peak of slavery in 1860” which you interpreted as the overall peak of slavery in the U.S. I’m guessing that the meme-maker expected people to make this mistake. In fact, 1860 was nowhere near the “peak” of slavery, and the white population had been growing more rapidly that the slave population for many decades.

        Of the total people counted as NOT owning slaves, 13% were themselves slaves, many were from states where slavery had already been outlawed, and many others were children or spouses of the slave-owner.

        In all actuality, in 1860, in the states where slavery was legal, 20% of families/25% of households owned slaves.

        In 1860 there were 4 million slaves. Compare that to the 20k you claim were owned by blacks and you get 0.5%. Not very significant if you ask me, especially considering many of these 20k were bought by their loved ones to be given their freedom.

        http://www.politifact.com/punditfact/statements/2017/aug/24/viral-image/viral-post-gets-it-wrong-extent-slavery-1860/

        1. Patrick

          I read this article and you are misinformed and misled…please take the time to read this long post. You are trying to compare irrelevant numbers to fit a narrative and that’s exactly what this article does. Of course 1860 was the height of slavery, 4 million slaves! You cannot discount a census as that is the most accurate information we have! There was no other point in Post or pre-Revolutionary War America where there was more slaves in what land now constitutes the USA. The land that was/became USA only brought in around 300-350,000 chattel slaves. Let’s look at some facts and do the math. The Atlantic slave trade ended Jan 1 1808 with many states actually banning the practice of bringing in foreign slaves before this (Virginia in 1788 was the first). A fact, less than 5% of Africans actually every set foot on USA soil. USA Chattel slaves had a higher population growth rate in this period than any other country in Europe and more than double that of England meaning they were having either more babies or more survived birth than their white counterparts in the most white area of the world. If you look at life expectancy it was roughly the same as a white male in 1850’s USA (that’s if a slave baby was born successfully they were expected to live to 36, free white male babies to 40) which indicates they lived comparable lifespans as non slaves. There was another form of slavery that was actually banned before chattel slavery and this was how most “white” people came across the Atlantic pre Revolutionary War. It is also how the first “black” people arrive in the colonies. It is called indentured servitude. And yes it was slavery, it’s in the name indentured “bind by labor” and servitude “owned by someone more powerful”. It was also extremely harsh as an estimated 50-75% of indentured servants didn’t survive the 7 year terms. As the “owner” in the agreement it was seen as a poor investment by many, also seen as immoral by others (was referred to as “the death traps” at the time), and eventually went out of practice because life got better for the average person in Europe due to the industrial/technological advances…this caused less people choosing to go into it because they no longer needed to escape their horrid life and using criminals alone couldn’t keep up the demand of the early states. Now back to chattel slavery, which was different in that it was for life if the owner so chose, again in the name chattel “possession” and slave “property of another person”. This was a life long investment by the owner of these slaves (yes it was seen as an investment by an owner the same way someone would invest a lot of money in plow equipment today on a farm) and if you want your investment to pay off you need to protect it. Slaves were extremely expensive in the USA pre Civil war so if you owned a slave you needed to get your moneys worth. An example is in in this article, in 1850 the average healthy male slave in Texas cost the same as 200 acres of prime farm land. Another example in Maryland, pre civil war average male slave would cost more than $1000. Now let’s take the average salary of a white male…which is hard to come by…but we do know that carpenters made one of the best salaries for a skilled worker at around $500 a YEAR if they worked 60 hours a week every week of the year. In 1900, 40 years later, the avg overall salary in the USA was a measly $450 per year! So looking at this it would be about 2+ years of money for a well off working person just own a slave that could work your land. Now…you say 25% of households owned slaves? I’m sorry but it doesn’t seem plausible to me considering majority of the population couldn’t afford to have a slave. Now let’s get to more real numbers provided by the 1860 census. You account for both the North and the South, with a total population of people being 31,183,582 and take away the total slaves 3,950,528 you get 27,233,198. These are “freeman”. Now you take the total number of slaveholders 393,975 and divide that by the number freeman to get the amount of people who actually owned slaves who COULD and you get 0.01446 or converted to percentage you get 1.446% of the freeman in the ENTIRE USA owned slaves. You cited families however, and based on the census you have to account for states that outlawed slavery, and the number actually comes out to 8% of FAMILIES. Now not all slaveowners were white, some were black. There were an estimated 500,000 free blacks in 1860 and estimated 3,000 of them owned slaves which comes out to 0.006 or 0.6% of the “freeman” black population. If you want to look at just whites you take away the 3,000 blacks from the slaveowners number you get 390,975 and you take away the 500,000 “freeman” blacks from 27,233,198 you get 26,733,198 and divide the two you get 0.01462 or 1.462 %. Roughly a difference of 0.015% which is statistically irrelevant and changes nothing either way. What’s interesting is we don’t really account for Natives since they participated in slavery as well both as slaves and as slaveowners. We don’t really even have a proper count of their population In the same 1860 census (being we only counted taxed Indians) we don’t know their numbers. Also if they were a “half breed” with a white they were considered white and “half breed” with a black they were considered black. The numbers probably wouldn’t skew the data much in any direction either so probably not worth looking into much more. MY OPINION…Most of the rhetoric today is blaming past sins of some white people for the problems of all others today and this is a popular argument to use, especially slavery. If I was to write a paper and looking at the facts and the math the overwhelming majority of white people in the United States at the height of slavery did not own slaves (98.538%) so I would argue enough with this white shaming over slavery crap I’ve been seeing all over the place lately…a war was fought where ~620,000 American people died which led directly to the end of slavery in the USA 150+ years ago. Most whites had nothing to do with it so again, I repeat, enough with this garbage argument.

          1. Thelma

            PATRICK, SOME OF THIS IS WAY OVER MY HEAD .ALTHOUGH I GET THE JUST OF IT. WHAT HURTS ME THE MOST IS THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A RACIST IN ANYTHING IN MY OPINION. THERE IS ONLY GOOD AND EVIL AND RIGHT AND WRONG. I’M A CAUCASIAN WOMAN AND I RENT A ROOM FROM A BLACK LADY. SOMETIMES I FEEL LIKE BECAUSE I AM WHITE I GET MISTREATED AND BECAUSE IM A REPUBLICAN AND MOST AROUND THIS AREA WHERE I LIVE ARE DEM. I WAS BORN AND RAISED IN MICHIGAN. I HARDLY EVER HEARD ABOUT THE HATRED OVER SKIN TONE. IM STARTING TO HATE IT HERE IN THE SOUTH BECAUSE I FEEL LIKE THATS ALL PEOPLE LIVE FOR AROUND HERE IS TO HATE WHITE PEOPLE. I LOVE EVERYONE AND IVE BEEN TOLD MORE THEN ONCE THAT MOST CAUCASIAN PEOPLE ARE RACIST. I DON’T REALLY BELIEVE THIS.ANYONE MISTREATING ANYONE NO MATTER WHAT IS WRONG.ITS LIKE A WAR ZONE AROUND HERE IN THE LANGUAGE AND CONVERSATIONS. MY BOYFRIEND IS A PUERTO RICAN AND IM VERY FLATTERED THAT HE FELL IN LOVE WITH ME!!! I JUST PRAY THAT THIS UGLY MESS STOPS ASAP. GOD BLESS ALL LEGAL AMERICANS AND GOD B LESS AMERICA! TY FOR READING THIS!

          2. Helene Staley

            I agree. It was economics. Who in the world exported most of the cotton? Did not the North and South benefit? If the South separated from the Union the northern states would then not benefit from the South’s cotton? With every war through history men must be given a moral issue to fight. I recall reading Lincoln said if preserving the Union meant the South kept its slaves then saving the Union was most important. Of course, I am summarizing, but the gist was he wanted the Union united over everything. If it had been only slavery, then the whites who did not own them would not have fought and lost their lives. They would have asked why they should fight to preserve slavery when they did not own slaves at all. Why? It was not slavery. It was economics. In the South, the initial thoughts were paranoid issues, and it circled around economics. It evolved into slavery. Most whites did not own slaves, and they were not going to fight to preserve something they lived without. They would fight to stay separated from the Union, and Union men became soldiers to fight against what became a political propaganda material to inspire fighting, and slavery then became a moral issue. Before this separation non slave owners accepted slavery as something that simpily was. But free blacks also owned black slaves. Some Cherokee owned black slaves. I have a 3rd great grandfather of German descent who fought for the Union, and another 3rd great grandfather who fought for the Confederacy. The one who fought for the Confederacy owned 9 slaves. His mother was one quarter Cherokee Indian, and his father of British descent. In 1902, one of those slaves returned to visit. My grandmother was born, and the former slave woman returned to say hello and to visit the then elderly brother of slaveowner. They did not hate one another. There are many facets of slaveowners, and some treated their slaves more like family and sharecroppers than slaves than how they are portrayed in films. Some slaveowners had overseers who were brutal, but what about the slave owners who loved their slaves enough to look after them in their wills? What about slaveowners who were never brutal. George Washington armed one of his slaves who was so close to him he trusted him with protecting his plantations from poachers. That slave never tried to leave that I know of. We have family cemeteries and one I am thinking of now contains slaves with their white slaveowners. No one writes about that fact, and few know which stones are those belonging to slaves. I know because it is preserved by my family. The worst of slavery aspects were terrible, but not everyone mistreated their slaves. I am not responsible for slavery or the actions of ancestors who owned them. I live now. They lived then. If you say whites took this country from Native Americans, and all white descendants should suffer because of it, which parts of me will suffer?Will my Native American blood not feel the pain of my white blood? Those arguments that whites should suffer simply because whites owned slaves is ridiculous. What about the white ancestors of mine who did not own slaves? Which parts of my whiteness must suffer simply because a black says my ancestry is a threat to his self esteem? Can they magically see my Native American parts and rule those innocent over certain white parts? So stupid such arguments are! Every person makes his own way in this world and no matter where we come from, we are in the here and now. I will not attack my white parts over my Native American parts because then I become a house divided against itself. Also, Native Americans do not go around telling whites they have nothing because of them. They understand the whites of today did not live during periods of time none of us can judge without a margin of error and discrepancies. History is interesting to study. The work of our ancestors, their lives belonged to them. My life belongs to me. Your life belongs to you. Each has freewill. You choose good and bad throughout living and gain understanding hopefully that race is not the enemy. Race is simply a fact. I am happy to be white with my Native American parts, and being happy in this does Not make me a racist. If you are black and enjoy that state of being, does that make you racist? Of course, not. Arguments that history book readers have about the ACW are based on propaganda. If you want to know the truth and goodness of that period of time or slavery in America do your own research. I suggest your research go outside the scope of your history books and include newspapers, flyers, photos, paintings, artists, census records, last wills and testaments, family Bibles, cemeteries, communities, old letters, heirloom histories, records of baptism, death, journals, etc. I know a researcher who is an historian who takes these steps and is someone who to this day does his own leg work….a rarity in this modern day society of history counterfeiters who keep repeating something they read in a book of propaganda fed to the unsuspecting and gullible. How can anyone make a point stamped with truth and goodness if that point is based on lies and false information? Everyday we see people making arguments based on what they read in a book. I like books, but we must be careful about the intent of the writer. Is it to tell the truth or to pass on accepted propaganda? The historian I trust without question is Bill Styple. He literally immerses himself into the lives of people who lived during ACW. He gets into their minds by reading their letters, studying their artwork, their journals, speeches, private lives. He reports his findings in books he published through Bellegrove Publishers. He does not have an agenda but a quest to report what he finds, and his motivation is swimming from a place in his soul called truth and goodness. Without goodness, truth means nothing. Goodness means understanding…without that, points rallied for the sake of knocking another down mean nothing but drama.. He is the most unbiased historical reporter alive today. For the Revolutionary period in the U.S. historian Bruce Chadrick is reliable book source. I write genealogical histories and fiction based on truthful observations. I live in a time period where I might possibly not be well known for my work today, but maybe 100 years after I leave here someone seeking truth might pick up one of books and lead a worthwhile conversation with it and know it was never part of propaganda.

  4. tkdrown

    I would like to see articles about numbers of native americans who were murdered tortured and used as slaves along with all other races who were slaves in this nation as well…..we do not hear much in reference to the Irish and Chinese Japanese etc.

    1. Brendan Wolfe Post author

      Re “articles about numbers of native americans who were murdered tortured and used as slaves”: we have an entry on the enslavement of Virginia Indians you can read here: http://www.encyclopediavirginia.org/Indian_Enslavement_in_Virginia

      Re the Irish as slaves: they were not, at least not in the same legal sense as African slaves in Virginia and elsewhere in America. They often were indentured servants, and in the early years of the Virginia colony, indentured servitude included some Africans and African Americans and was sometimes indistinguishable from slavery. (Read about that here: http://bit.ly/1S4hDcl.) However, the popular Internet meme that suggests that the Irish were slaves just like African Americans is wrong. You will find a debunking of it here, along with links to other correctives: http://bit.ly/22mmkD5

      1. Sarah

        I believe your wrong about Irish slavery. You need to dig deeper and look. Virginia historical society may have some info. Indentured servitude sounds nice but when people are kidnapped and put in chains naked on a auction block that is not an indentured servant. Irish were the cheapest slave in the world, 5 sterling/shilling compared to the black slave at 50 sterling/shilling. Look into Virginia, West Indies, Barbados. White females were forced to mate with black men to create the free slave. The Irish were in the bottom of the ship where they died first. Also the first to be thrown over if the ship was too heavy. They were given the most dangerous jobs because they were cheap to replace. The term “white cracker” came from this time period. It was terrible in Europe also. We would pass laws to end it before Europe. There is tons of info and proof out there.

        1. Charles

          With all do respect Sarah, you are wrong about Irish slaves. The Irish were not slaves in the same sense that African Americans were slaves. While it is true that the Irish were sold and traded and brought to America to work for no money, the Majority of Irish slaves were criminals who had committed crimes and were punished to a term of slavery (or “indentured servitude”). Irish slaves could even petition the court to be released from their sentence if they were mistreated by their masters.

          Furthermore, the difference in price was because the children of Irish slaves were born free as opposed to the children of African slaves who were born into slavery. The price of Irish slaves were only for the actual person enslaved and did not extend to future generations, whereas the purchase of an African slave was a purchase of that slaves entire lineage which could produce perpetual income (i.e. it was more of an investment). So while it is true that Irish slaves existed, they were not slaves in the same sense as Africans were as many of them were freed of slavery after serving their punishments.

          1. Oliver

            The Irish were enslaved by the English, Spanish, the Moors etc and many other invaders for hundreds of years…Well before the Dutch and English were running trade to the States..

          2. Kim Cooney

            With all due respect, Charles. Your understanding of what constituted a criminal record in Ireland is shallow at best, and racist at worst. Many “criminals” exported from Ireland (by the English) to Australia and America were either guilty of eating the food they produced with their own hands to keep from starving, or trying to obey the dictates of their own religious conscience. To wit, here are the infamous “Penal Laws of Ireland” (Na Péindlíthe) serially imposed in an attempt to force Irish Roman Catholics and Protestant dissenters (such as local Presbyterians) to accept the reformed denomination as defined by the English state established Anglican Church:
            ● Exclusion of Catholics from most public offices (since 1607), Presbyterians were barred from public office from 1707.
            ● Ban on intermarriage with Protestants; repealed 1778.
            ● Presbyterian marriages were not legally recognised by the state.
            ● Catholics barred from holding firearms or serving in the armed forces (rescinded by Militia Act of 1793).
            ● Bar from membership in either the Parliament of Ireland or the Parliament of England from 1652; rescinded 1662–1691; renewed 1691–1829, applying to the successive parliaments of England (to 1707), Great Britain (1707 to 1800), and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (1800 to 1829).
            ● Disenfranchising Act 1728, exclusion from voting until 1793.
            ● Exclusion from the legal professions and the judiciary; repealed (respectively) 1793 and 1829.
            ● Education Act 1695 – ban on foreign education; repealed 1782.
            ● Bar to Catholics and Protestant Dissenters entering Trinity College Dublin; repealed 1793.
            ● On a death by a Catholic, his legatee could benefit by conversion to the Church of Ireland.
            ● Popery Act – Catholic inheritances of land were to be equally subdivided between all an owner’s sons with the exception that if the eldest son and heir converted to Protestantism that he would become the one and only tenant of estate and portions for other children not to exceed one third of the estate. This “Gavelkind” system had previously been abolished by 1600.
            ● Ban on converting from Protestantism to Roman Catholicism on pain of Praemunire: forfeiting all property estates and legacy to the monarch of the time and remaining in prison at the monarch’s pleasure. In addition, forfeiting the monarch’s protection. No injury however atrocious could have any action brought against it or any reparation for such.
            ● Ban on Catholics buying land under a lease of more than 31 years; repealed 1778.
            ● Ban on custody of orphans being granted to Catholics on pain of 500 pounds that was to be donated to the Blue Coat hospital in Dublin.
            ● Ban on Catholics inheriting Protestant land.
            ● Prohibition on Catholics owning a horse valued at over £5 (to keep horses suitable for military activity out of the majority’s hands).
            ● Roman Catholic lay priests had to register to preach under the Registration Act 1704, but seminary priests and Bishops were not able to do so until 1778.
            ● When allowed, new Catholic churches were to be built from wood, not stone, and away from main roads.
            ‘No person of the popish religion shall publicly or in private houses teach school, or instruct youth in learning within this realm’ upon pain of twenty pounds fine and three months in prison for every such offence. Repealed in 1782.
            ● Any and all rewards not paid by the crown for alerting authorities of offences to be levied upon the Catholic populace within parish and county.
            Et cetera…

          3. Melissa

            This is wrong – the blacks could actually petition courts not the Irish. Read “White Cargo”, a well documented book.

          4. Dan Ian

            Charles – you are joining a new and growing number of people trying to re-write history. You are glossing over the Irish slaves: aka political victims, rogues, vagabonds, rebels, felons, military prisoners, maidens (reference: PEC Ireland education foundation, EWTN). Indentured meant made-up charges against the irish bound them, their children, wife,etc. There was NO free child or family passage to the US for those irish not bound. According to a german doctor essay in London in the 1800’s – even free irish passage ended in slavery, as they were auctioned on the boat, families split up, survivors paying double years for family members dying during voyage. Consider the average life span was 30 years – they leave at age 18 and then spend the next 5-8 years enslaved — how is that not slavery? Versus— African passage to states like Florida (according to the Kingsley plantation state records – see wiki) the owner operator of the largest Florida plantation was a Jamacian woman of color – and her cousins were proprietors of the next largest. They encouraged “slaves” to set up side businesses and earn their freedom. Kingsley developed skills in their human capital and this enabled the people to do better, post servant. some state laws (florida, haiti, etc) set a maximum of 9 years to earn freedom. So – that said – how is the irish indentured servant for 9 years different than the 9 years for an African bound by his brother and sold to plantation holders of color earning their freedom ? Thomas Jefferson instituted programs to free his servants — however, keep in mind that Thomas was a also slave to the debt the French and English Banks extended. There are many facets of the expansion of America and different ways to explain how we all ended up here. Even for the “elite” when it was an English colony — they were cousins or brothers of royalty who would never have land in England — they were put into chains of debt by their royals to be here and the early models were mainly irish slaves, later African slaves. However the days of slavery were coming to an end already due to the invention of the gin and farm machinery that replaced the expense of human capital.

        2. Joe

          why don’t you give us the proof? you seem very certain of your facts. you seem like you might just be another white person angry that black people are getting attention again. where did you get your facts?

      2. Robert Glisson

        Indentured servitude is a FORM of slavery, as is chattel slavery. They were different forms. The notion that indentured servants were not slaves is incorrect.

        1. Brendan Wolfe Post author

          Thanks for your comment, Mr. Glisson, but you are the one who is incorrect here. The idea that indentured servitude is a form of slavery might be true if, by slavery, you simply mean labor. You can labor under really terrible conditions for a set time (indentured servitude) or for a lifetime (chattel slavery) or even for pay (some pro-slavery southerners argued that northern factory workers were the real slaves).

          According to the UN definition, slavery involves “an element of ownership or control over another’s life, coercion and the restriction of movement and by the fact that someone is not free to leave or change an employer” (bit.ly/2lIeoym). Indentured servants in Virginia were not owned nor were they bondage through coercion. They were under contract. That seems like a crucial distinction. That contract gave them rights that could be adjudicated by courts. See our entry on indentured servants: bit.ly/2ySbJv7

          That doesn’t mean they weren’t mistreated. In 1649, a woman thrashed her servant “more Liken a dogge then a Christian,” so that her head was “as soft as a sponge.” But that case went to court. That case was deemed potentially criminal (bit.ly/2tDaevL). The 1705 slave law in Virginia made it illegal to “whip a christian white servant naked, without an order from a justice of the peace” (bit.ly/2yR5Uyh).

          No such law protected black bodies. In fact, the same law state that should “any slave resist his master … correcting such slave, and shall happen to be killed in such correction, it shall not be accounted felony.” This was a license to kill. And of course even if said slave were not dead, he or she could not sue because he or she was not legally allowed to provide testimony in court.

          Indentured servitude was not a form of slavery. These are not differences in degree. They are differences in kind.

          Historians and philosophers have grappled with what that difference entails. Orlando Patterson wrote that slavery is “the permanent, violent, and personal domination of natally alienated and generally dishonored persons” (bit.ly/2KfJzzM).

          Indentured servitude was not permanent. It was violent, but only up to a point. And servants were not natally alienated, which is to say excommunicated from family and society. Dehumanized. Turned into animals. Not only was this not a feature of indentured servitude, but these servants were welcomed into society at the fulfillment of their indenture. Their contracts often provided for assistance so that they might better contribute to that society after their years of labor.

          The scholar David Brion Davis expands on the “radical uncertainty and unpredictability” that comes with an existence that is almost totally at the whim of one’s owner, unprotected by the law or civil society:

          “It is also important to remember that in most societies, even the most privileged slave—the wealthy farm agent in Babylon, the Greek poet or teacher in Rome, the black driver, musician, blacksmith, or boat captain in Mississippi—could be quickly sold, or stripped and whipped, or raped, or sometimes even killed at the whim of an owner. All slave systems shared this radical uncertainty and unpredictability. The slave, even the Mamluk army officer or powerful eunuch issuing orders in the emperor’s name, was deprived of any supportive family or clan, any continuity with a genuine history. Whatever privileges she or he may have gained could be taken away in a flash—leaving the slave naked as an animal at an auction. This absence of a past and a future, of a place in history and society from which to grow in small increments, made each slave totally vulnerable. This may be the very essence of dehumanization.”

          These definitions are more specific than the UN’s but are generally how scholars think of slavery in America. They get at the difference between slavery and indentured servitude. To equate them, even in a general way, is to turn a blind eye to the horror of slavery—and at what cost? One cost is that we forget what it meant to subject an entire class of people to that particular domination, and we forget the lengths that white society went to preserve that domination. See for instance lynching in Virginia (http://bit.ly/2MwSFEO) or the Danville Riot (http://bit.ly/2tO0mi7).

          And to forget (or simply ignore) that history disadvantages anyone trying to navigate the difficult issues we all face today. To that end, definitions are worth debating. Thanks again for your comment.

          1. Pat

            You serious?? You are using only Virginia but ignoring everywhere else. Indentured Servitude was actually banned in the Caribbean before chattel slavery because it was so brutal. It was nicknamed “death trap” because you actually had a better chance of dying before your 7 year term was up. The reason for this? They were cheap so they were mistreated horribly compared to a chattel slave (I’m talking both physically, and medically). Now you like to use the argument that chattel slaves were seen as subhuman and indentured servants weren’t…well that actually has nothing to with being a slave it had to do with skin color. There was a big argument between early forefathers whether or not blacks and natives were human. One of our forefathers, I forget if it was Jefferson or Adams, but that’s besides the point, in a letter he wrote that Indians were sun tanned white men so he would classify them as human while blacks weren’t so he thought of them closer related to apes. When the British banned chattel slavery in 1833 they went to indentured servitude because it was exactly the same thing, just because it wasn’t for life they were able to tip toe on the boundary of the law. Now the British actually treated their slaves well compared to many peoples (Arabs and Portuguese). Also in the same year, 1833 the USA passed a law that banned retrieval and prosecution of an escaped indentured servant which was one of the reasons it went out of practice. You know what the usual punishment was for an escaped or non compliant indentured servant? A longer term! Guess how the first lifelong slave happened in the colonies? An indentured servant escaped, was brought in by a neighbor and then in the court of law was deemed to have broken his agreement and sentenced to a life of servitude to the original owner. And guess what color that owner was? Black and the slave was black too, I know crazy. You talk of definitions, so what does indentured mean? Binded laborer. What’s servitude mean? Being a slave to someone more powerful. So according to the name, the practices and the laws around it it was exactly the same thing as chattel slavery. The only difference being a set term as opposed to life. Another fallacy is that all slaves, were treated poorly. This is actually common sense but just in case you don’t see it think of it this way. If you had a piece of equipment that benefited your lifestyle would you treat it poorly? If you were an idiot sure but most people wouldn’t because that object benefits them. And yes slaves were objects to an owner benefitting the lifestyle they were looking for. You use the argument that chattel slavery is the only rightful slavery because it was for life while servitude had a term. I hate to break it to you but not all slaves were slaves for life. It was true in America and has always been true…here’s one example… Roman gladiators which by every definition were slaves and are referred to as such could gain their freedom based on good displays in the arena. The owner of a slave had every right to choose to free their slave if they so chose. How do you think there were 500,000 freeman blacks in the USA circa 1860? Literally the only reason there is an argument between the two was the way the laws were written in order to make one not seem as bad as the other, so people could feel morally better with themselves. Quite pathetic actually. But that was the beauty of the 13th Amendment, it banned both. And if you think indentured servitude was only a thing whites did then I hate to break it to you but the first blacks in the colonies were indentured servants so it’s not really a black and white thing either comparing chattel and indentured. But of course after the 13th Amendment then you get into sharecropping, which I would argue is closer to how most people wrongly perceive indenture servitude.

        2. Joe

          ndentured Servant | Definition of Indentured Servant by Merriam-Webster
          Merriam-Webster › dictionary › indentur…
          Indentured servant definition is – a person who signs and is bound by indentures to work for another for a specified time especially in return for payment of travel expenses
          Indentured servants actually signed a contract in order to fulfill a monetary application. they actually received something for their period of servitude in contrast to slaves who received nothing and did not voluntarily submit to enslavement.

  5. Tim

    The Lee family did not free their slaves in 1840. That was the year Virginia made it a crime to educate slaves. RE Lee only allowed a few slaves to be freed and kept the insitution of slavery at his plantation til the emancipation proclimation and Union forces overran the plantation early in the war. Slaves were allowed to learn to read to allow them to study the bible but RE Lee tho a legendary general and often spoken of with awe and kindness was a slaveholder. I believe after the war he ‘saw the light’ on the evil of slavery.

    1. John Smith

      No. Lee never owned Arlington Plantation. His wife inherited it in 1857, and Lee returned there in 1857 to settle the will, which required that the slaves are Arlington be freed within 5 years. The Civil War broke out, and he was prevented from fully executing the will.

  6. john blanchard

    I am interested in how many people were born into slavery in the usa between 1620 and 1865? I want to know how many were actually enslaved and not just how many were transported here.

    1. Sarah

      There is tons of info out there. In a period of 300+ years 1500-1865 I think about 12.2 million. This includes free and born here also. A total number in the country.

      1. Faye Stewart

        Hey Sarah,

        Can you define your answer a little better, maybe keep it within the US, maybe 6% of whites owned slaves in the south…oh don’t forget that many blacks owned slaves, did you include that in your vague information…. Since 1958 whites bent over backwards to give blacks a step up, that’s 60 years and think that’s more than enough time for blacks to get themselves together but their still complaining woe is me… Sick of it.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        1. Kristin

          Faye, after 400 years of slavery there were 100 years of Jim Crow, 75 years of mis-education and abuse, 60 years of public lynchings, 60 years of segregation, 35 years of racist housing, business, banking, & education policies… countless years of segregation & suppression. So now what damage does that do to a people? It leaves generational wounds & scars & that need to heal. I’d like to see how “easily” you’d be able to deal with being on the receiving end of such far reaching generational damage. If you think the oppression & prejudice automatically ended in 1958, like flipping off a light switch, then you are sadly mistaken & need more exposure to reality. You do not have the right to tell a disenfranchised group of people how to handle their experiences, especially with the mindset that you have. Having said that, Black education & wealth in our country is consistently improving, so there is progress to be noted.

        2. Joe

          Faye, You saySince 1958 whites bent over backwards to give blacks a step up? what percentage of whites is that? 1% 10%? what have you done since 1958? From your tone of voice sounds like you have probably done nothing but be a big hindrance to equality

      2. Craig

        That is total number brought to the America’s, not the US. Brazil received, by some estimates, 13 times the number of slaves.
        African Slave Imports into British North America and the United States, Including Louisiana[5]

        1620-1700

        20,500

        1701-1760

        188,600

        1761-1770

        62,668

        1771-1780

        14,902

        1771-1790

        55,750

        1791-1800

        79,041

        1801-1810

        114,090

        1761-1810 Louisiana imports

        10,200

        1810-1870

        51,000

        Total

        596,751

        http://www.americanabolitionists.com/fact-sheet.html

    1. Pojimogo

      “Do you know the number of enslaved Africans that were sold to Europeans by other Aficans (sic)”

      By the mid 1500’s nearly all Africans sold into the Afro-Euro slave trade were victims of other Africans. For Europeans themselves, the attempt to procure slaves in the numbers needed to fuel this inhuman form of labor was not only logistically impractical, it was a highly dangerous endeavor as well. It was the Africans that made possible the European/Atlantic slave trade. In all probability, had Africans not chosen to enslave their countrymen and neighbors in an unquenchable thirst for power and profit, the European/American slave trade with Africa would never have existed … at least not in measure and to the extent it had evolved during its historical peak.

    1. Faye Stewart

      Your facts are wrong John Mack around six percent owned blacks….Blacks owned blacks……History books look it up

      1. Katie

        It’s from the 1860 census. You cannot get more factual than that. Your statistic may be correct, but you are not taking in to consideration that that 6% is out of 100% which includes 13% which are slaves themselves, children who could not own property, and many people who lived in states where slavery was outlawed. He said “families.” You are counting one slave owner in a family of possibly 10 or 20 members. The head of household is the only one you count but his wife, parents, children etc all benefitted from the slaves. 6% of people in the U.S., but 25% of households in the south owned slaves. If you interpret the data incorrectly, you get the wrong idea.

        Some slaves were owned by blacks, this is true. 0.5% of them. And this number was recorded without considering that many were bought by loved ones who would later set them free.

  7. Robert Harden

    Are there numbers regarding the number of emancipated slaves who were captured illegally by trackers, and then sold back into slavery.

  8. Trisha

    I am really having a hard time with people forgetting about what happened to these human beings. I recently had my cousin post something saying it was a way of life to own slaves and comparing us now to them as we work like slaves. My reaction to that was just wow! Are you kidding me! He said we can’t hate our forefathers for owning slaves. Everything in his statement is just non empathetic to me and I even see in this site people talking about African Americans complaining. When will people wake up and be human!

    1. John Smith

      Thank you. My family was enslaved by Romans, and tortured and beaten. We have never forgotten. I’m glad to see there are others out there who still care.

  9. Dudley Brooks

    I’m having an argument with an apologist who points out (correctly, but irrelevantly, in my opinion) that before the middle 1600s most Africans “came” to the US as indentured servants rather than as slaves. What I haven’t yet been able to find out is

    (1) How many came as indentured servants versus how many subsequently were brought as slaves (and versus how many were born into slavery)?

    (2) How voluntarily did they “come” as indentured servant?

    (3) What was their origin and their situation before that?

    Thanks.

    1. Brendan Wolfe Post author

      You ask whether Africans came to Virginia primarily as indentured servants or slaves, at least in the early years. This is something that historians disagree about. Some argue that there was no law in Virginia at the time (beginning in 1619) that recognized the lifetime enslavement of people. Others argue (and here I may be missing some of the nuances) that the lack of such a law did not mean that Africans weren’t, in fact, enslaved. Various accounts suggest that they were, and there certainly was precedent in the Caribbean, for instance.

      This much seems clear: some Africans were treated as indentured servants but perhaps not all. By 1640 Virginia courts were treating them differently than white servants, with one black servant, who had run away, being sentenced to enslavement. No white servant ever received such a sentence. In 1660 Virginia law mentioned slavery for the first time, and soon the courts were suggesting, by their rulings, that the default situation of Africans was enslavement. And in 1662 the General Assembly passed a law that said that children shall be free or enslaved according to the condition of their mother.

      All of which is to say that it is not clear how many Africans came as servants versus slaves in the first several decades, but by 1660 the enslavement of Africans was quickly becoming colonial policy.

      Africans did not come to the colony voluntarily. They generally were captured in Africa, usually by other Africans, sold to white traders, who transported them to America and sold them there. Families were often broken up in this way. The first Africans to come to Virginia in 1619 came as part of the long-established transatlantic slave trade.

      You can read more about those first Africans in Virginia here: https://www.encyclopediavirginia.org/Virginia_s_First_Africans

  10. John Smith

    Thank you for your research. Could you please answer the questions:

    1. How many millions of Black people were captured by rival Black African Tribes during inter-tribal warfare in Africa (as POWs), and then sold to slave traders and dispersed throughout the world (including brought to America)? Please be as exact as possible.

    2. How many millions of Black people were captured and sold by Muslims in Africa?

    3. How many millions of White Europeans and Americans were captured by Muslims from Africa and enslaved or killed?

    4. How many Native American Indians were enslaved and killed other Native American Indians before Columbus arrived?

    5. How many Native American Indians enslaved and killed Colonists and American Citizens after Columbus arrived?

    6. How many Black people owned slaves in the United States up until after the Civil War?

    7. How many thousands of Black people were still enslaved in States that still belonged to the Union during the Civil War?

    8. Which political party was the driving force in slavery in the South, creation of the KKK, establishing Jim Crow, and fighting against desegregation up until the last 40 years?

    Just want honest answers. You seem pretty good and thorough. Thank you.

  11. Steven Hemstreet

    I am not a slave, my parents were not slaves. My parents don’t own slaves, I don’t own slaves. Why is the current generation having to pay for the lifestyles of our ancestors. People obsess over history – history is just old news. People need to forgive and not obsess about things that happened to their ancestors. If anyone has a legitimate complaint it would be the American Indians who lost the entire USA to the invading whites, blacks and latinos.

    1. Don

      Steven – did your parents provide a home for you? Did they have jobs? Did their parents before them? Did they pass down any inheritances? How much wealth and opportunity was passed on to you by generations and generations of those who “didn’t own slaves”?

      You didn’t start from zero when you were born. You had a legacy handed down to you. If you’re so concerned about people of colour ignoring their history and the deficits their ancestors came from, then you should be willing to forego all the advantages your ancestors handed to you…

      But you know it doesn’t work that way. You, just like me, are a recipient of white privilege that goes back generations. Until you’re willing to admit that, you should stop complaining about “this generation” being infatuated with the history of slavery.

      And no, throwing in the horrors of what was done to aboriginal peoples in N America doesn’t get you off the hook. Slavery is ANOTHER atrocity. Our ancestors participated in both and we have generations of advantages built on the backs of these horrors, whether you admit it or not.

      1. Robert

        I live in the south, there are tons of blacks here that live with there parents and grandparents and collect checks. I do mean checks, for many different things (power bill, food, kids have an i.q. of 70 because they’re taught to fail that particular test, and more.) Those parents and grandparents worked hard for those houses 30,40,50 or 60 years ago, yet now since the government has been giving them more and more free money for absolutely nothing, they do less and less and expect more more more. Slavery has been around since the beginning and you can watch videos now of blacks being sold by blacks in Lydia yesterday. I guess we should all go march for ours. The high school I went to 15 years ago is now predominately black and miserably failing. Is that from slavery. 100000 dollar scholarship isn’t enough they want royalties from jersey sales. Is that embedded through generations of working on a plantation against your will. Guess they could have been free and happy enslaved to a BLACK king in Africa. I have no sympathy for this generation. Screw racism and screw lazy trash that uses EXCUSES to try to get a free ride, of any color. Nigger derived from negro, meaning black. Cracker came from the sound the whip made

        1. Anthony

          Spoken like a person from a true point of privilege. European criminals had a 400 year head start.

          Your corporate infrastructure is not wanting to equally employ black men or women

          Psychological slavery and warfare being implemented at its finest. Have been for centuries.

          High school failing due to conservative racists not providing the fundamental assistance all the privileged schools get. wanting those to fail.

          Your banks swindled hundreds of thousands out of their properties.

          It’s thoroughly documented ALL of the obstacles that racists people in power throw in our way.

          But want us to catch up immediately. That’s night right friend
          Any Caucasian who lineage runs through America or comes to America are at advantage and got centuries free labor to fatten their pockets for current day white people.

          Free ride. No one asked that. Just a fair chance without prejudice.

          Free and happy as slaves in Africa. Wow that’s major evil. Could’ve just been happy being free.
          And even if like you say, it would’ve been fine being on known homeland.

          Why not pay them. If they were majority white net wouldn’t be a problem huh? They make billions off these student athletes.

          This generation has been programmed to be consumers like their oppressors.

          Just would suck being a poor white person.

          Lot of slavery defenders here. Reverse the situation. Just picture your precious mom, wife or children being treated as badly as you know those human brother and sisters were for centuries. I can’t see how any one can justify it or not wanna give all the assistance in the world to help bring the people ahead.

          Over 400 years of consistent pressure!!
          Hopefully less hate more love and compassion.

          God have mercy on all us!

          1. Diosa

            This is an abomination to read, I get it, black Americans do and have done absolutely nothing wrong and everyone else is at fault for their failure, wow, what do you know, the whit devils at it again. Beyond ridiculous, let me give you a tip, STOP with the victim mentality, how can a person feel so insecure about their race that, you need the white men’s constant approval to make you feel adequate. “Conservative racists” you are obviously part of the Democratic liberal plantation, who insist on enslaving the minds of minority groups via their emotions and rage, constantly bringing up slavery, making sure the keep the black community poor so, they have no other choice but to keep on voting for government handouts. The Democratic Party benefits from the misery of blacks, immigrants…why on earth would they ever changed that, wake the hell up, you are no victim, you are not oppressed. Stop the dishonesty, no Republican ever own a slave, none, look it up. Liberals are what is wrong with America.

          2. Brian

            -“privilege” is affirmative action, MBK, etc etc. Some cultures are as they were 400 years ago and will still be there 400 years from now.
            -Psychological slavery and warfare being implemented at its finest. Have been for centuries. By EVERY historical society – Africa, Native Americans, China, etc etc
            -High school failing due to conservative racists not providing the fundamental assistance all the privileged schools get. wanting those to fail. Failure of parents, families and communities – nothing else.
            -It’s thoroughly documented ALL of the obstacles that racists people in power throw in our way. Who is “our”? America made up 4% or less of all slave trade.
            -But want us to catch up immediately. SAT scores, unwed birth rates, fatherless home percents and high school graduation rates are telling.
            -Free ride. No one asked that. Just a fair chance without prejudice. No better place than US for that opportunity.
            -And even if like you say, it would’ve been fine being on known homeland. Lincoln believed that too and tried emigration on 4 occasions. Liberia ring a bell? Dept of Emigration ring a bell? Lincoln tried to export Africans out of the US.

            Any African slave trade beef should be directed towards Caribbean sugar making countries (Brazil, DR, Haiti, etc) that is where 90+% of slaves enslaved by other Africans were sold…. by other Africans to Dutch slave traders.

      2. allen

        @ Don … ” then you should be willing to forego all the advantages your ancestors handed to you…” ……. YOU go 1st ! ?

    2. Darrick Meiers

      And you do know that some of the first Native americans were In fact Black! Look it up. There were those from Australia and then those that were already here from Africa.

    3. Joe

      how are you having to pay for the lifestyles of your ancestors? by being forced to face the consequences of their actions? you poor thing!

  12. Marsh Moyle

    “$97,100,000,000,000: Estimated value of the labor performed by black slaves in America between 1619 and 1865, compounded at 6 percent interest through 1993. (Source)”

    The source does not appear to be accessible. Could you point to other sources, which justify this number or any other comparative figures?

    Thanks

  13. CC

    There are some stats I would like to know also. I’m not racist only white. I have black friends and white, but I never hear something very obvious mentioned and I want it brought out in more discussions than this one. I think we all agree the war,what ever you want to call it was about slaverey- because of this war there were over 800,000 people slain some very horrific deaths I’m sure- more deaths than ww1,ww2, Korean, Vietnam- combined. Why did the North side of our nation fight- to end enslavement of black people. Because of that war blacks today #1 enjoy there God given freedom #2 they have anything that any race has- I know many that are wealthier than whites and other races of people. I know PLENTY of poor whites. Going back to the 800,000 plus that died over half 400,000 white guys died on the north side- What about the generations of those white people that were fighting only so the slaves could be free- Does anyone think the Mothers, Fathers, And sibling felt privileged after their losses. What about all those lost fortunes those souls could have earned and passed on. And don’t forget how many were limbless and carried horrific wounds. What about reparations for those descendants? I am not saying anybody owes anybody- I’m saying teach history but I can’t stand it when people think there special and deserve entitlements- if you have a poor self image- go to church or get counseling

    1. Linda

      Actually, no. The Civil War was not fault over slavery.
      The primary interest of the north was to maintain the United States as a single, undivided country. The primary reason for the south seceding from the Union was to protect the right to own slaves for fear they’d lose their economy. So the North did not declare war to end slavery. So you may stop blaming the slaves.

    2. Darrick Meiers

      Only? “Only so the slaves could be free”. They had no right to be held against their will in the first place. So they are FORCED to correct their mistakes and you are crying about the 400,000 white guys that lost their lives…only to free Black people? I’ve not heard a more racist statement in my life. Our lives mattered then just as they do now. If it took 400,000 men to die for the freedom of their fellow countryman then that’s what it took and I’m sure they were proud to make that sacrifice to move freedom and equality in the right direction. Those soldiers did not die in vain.

    3. Joe

      the answer to your question is yes! Many many people of the. Did feel privileged to give their lives to end such a Despicable thing as slavery. it was the Christian thing to do

  14. Linda

    Actually, no. The Civil War was not fault over slavery.
    The primary interest of the north was to maintain the United States as a single, undivided country. The primary reason for the south seceding from the Union was to protect the right to own slaves for fear they’d lose their economy. So the North did not declare war to end slavery. So you may stop blaming the slaves.

  15. WILLIAM

    Mmmm? Could one say the Civil war was a conflict over states rights?
    States rights to do what? Own Slaves.

  16. Malachi

    Seems to me that there is huge piece of the African slave trade that is conveniently left out of every discussion of who to blame and who should pay who for 100’s of years of lost ancestry…The FACT that (as has been stated many times in this thread by people from both sides of the debate): BLACK Africans rounded up, captured, kidnapped, other Africans and sold them as slaves. BLACK Africans making a living by selling other Africans. Partly for the money itself, partly for greed.
    By sell the neighboring peoples into slavery – now all the land they had a claim to becomes the possession of the Slave traders.
    I mean let’s be brutally honest. If you look at some of the wealthiest Africans (in Africa) right now, their financial legacy; their millions of dollars of Upper Class Privilege: is the direct result of their ancestor’s involvement in the slave trade. Properties that have been in the family for generations – were taken by rounding up and selling (into slavery) the people who lived on it. Financial coffers filled decades or centuries ago by the money made selling those rounded up in order to take possession of their land – you get the picture.
    So why is it that a descendant of a slave can track down the name of the plantation where his ancestors were owned; and somehow hold the plantation owner responsible for EVERY failure or shortcoming (be it financial, moral, educational, career – the list never ends) his/her family has experienced over the last 200 years (and expect $$ reparations for all the money lost – or not earned in the first place) but doesn’t EVER bother to go back that one more step to find the name of the neighboring tribe or village that kidnapped and sold his ancestors? – To hold THEM accountable?
    There is absolutely NO WAY slavery could have lasted as long as it did, and spread as far as it did – without the continual influx of new slaves into the market. You can cry about supply and demand and blame the white guys for buying slaves: but that doesn’t hold water. 90 to 95 percent of the African people- kidnapped / abducted and sold into slavery weren’t even brought to America. I’ll ponder even farther (can’t believe I’m saying this) that being sold into slavery actually SAVED the lives of many of those people. How could I say that? Greed and a lust for lands and power was driving other villages/tribes to overrun the weeker ones, in order to take their possessions and power. You only have to go back just a few years to 1994; 800,000 Africans killed in 100 days. One group of people getting rid of another – what ever it took. One has to speculate – how many of those 800,000 people might still be alive, had it been legal to sell them – instead of killing them? Why is it that you NEVER hear a prominent black politician blame slavery on rich, politically powerful Africans? Why is it that a country that possessed roughly 4 percent of the total slaves sold out of African (by black Africans don’t forget) is somehow still responsible over a century later, but the black slave traders get a pass?

    And I’m no doubt going to offend people here; but lets be honest again. For a large majority of those who complain the loudest about how slavery ruined their life and the lives of generations before them: where would they be had their ancestors NOT have been brought to this country as slaves? They’d still be in Africa, living in conditions FAR worse than what they have here. In no small part because there are no government handouts for being black and poor in Africa. There are no financial incentives to having multiple kids with no ‘legal’ husband living in the house. There are no incentives to not working whatever job you can find. There are no minority based housing opportunities…That is IF their family was even able to survive the numerous genocides and tribal / regional wars that have torn Africa apart for decades. (see reference to 1994 Rwanda above)
    The reality is, the majority of the LOUD complainers don’t actually want to go back to Africa – as if slavery never happened. They they don’t want to give up all the privileges and government hand outs that ‘minority’ status gives them (yes, I said privileges, let’s talk housing and business loans / loan rates, ‘race based’ scholarship and grants, lower tuition at many public schools, ‘waived’ activity fees, lowered GPA requirements to be accepted into many colleges, along with lower GPA required to stay on certain college sports teams, etc – all privileges that a WHITE man doesn’t get). The complainers really don’t want to give all those things up be treated EQUAL to whites.
    They will never admit that as stupid as it sounds ‘slavery’ may have actually saved their family and given generations of their family a chance at a life that would have never been possible in Africa.

    One final comment:
    A couple posts in this thread have thrown out the:
    “$97,100,000,000,000: Estimated value of the labor performed by black slaves in America between 1619 and 1865, compounded at 6 percent interest through 1993.”
    note that the quote says ‘in America’. That phrase is key to the whole thing.
    Take the same amount of labor hours by same number of individuals over the same span of years AT the accepted, average worker pay during those same years IN AFRICA…and then, then compound it not by 6 percent interest (that’s the American rate) but compound it by the interest rate IN AFRICA. I dare say you can knock at least 6 to maybe 9 zero’s off of that big number.
    So again – you can’t claim that ‘somebody’ owes you your share of the inheritance of the “$97,100,000,000,000” that your ancestors created (as slaves working in America – sold into slavery by other Africans)…and still cling to slavery as the ‘evil bastard’ that ruined your life.

    1. Fester

      While I am largely unsympathetic to any social grievances, the amount of money we have spent fighting wars against other poor populations, would have gone a long way to smoothing out any problems people are facing today. The money elites prefer to have the working class at each other’s throats over old history, and social agitators are too slow and weak to deal with who it’s screwing us today and over the long arc of history.

    2. Joe

      frankly I don’t care what race enslaved another race or who trapped and captured him in Africa. what I do care about and what makes me feel sad is that in our history Americans! Enslaved other Americans! that is what is the stain Upon Our Country

  17. Joe

    the answer to your question is yes! Many many people of the. Did feel privileged to give their lives to end such a Despicable thing as slavery. it was the Christian thing to do

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