You recently printed several letters relating to the removal of our Confederate monuments. This letter addresses only one element in those letters, African slavery.
One writer related that an African-American person, ostensibly referring to our Confederate monuments, said, “The history of my people, it’s a history of terror.” I take it this individual was reflecting on the history of African slavery. Let’s look at a brief overview of the stages of the “African slave trade.”
African slavery was instituted, conducted and has been practiced among Africans themselves for over 4,000 years of recorded history by African kings and chieftains (reflected, for instance, in early Egyptian hieroglyphics). The African nation of Mauritania, the last nation to outlaw slavery, did so in 1981. Nigeria’s Boko Haram is even now enslaving young girls. Arab/Muslim slave traders participated in the African slave trade with the Sub-Saharan Africans already practicing it for over 1,300 years (late 7th into the early 19th centuries).
Sadly, there was participation in the long-established African slave trade by non-Africans as well, traders who bought about 90 percent from Africans and “caught” about 10 percent themselves. Various European slave traders did this for about 300 years, the most “successful” being the English, whose flag we fly in British Park. This is often referred to as the “Middle Passage” (16th through 19th centuries).
Finally, the Yankee Clippers of the American New England colonies/states traded with Africans for slaves from about the 1640s until 1808, when the African slave trade was outlawed in the United States (the trade, not the ownership).
Regarding African slaves brought to the “New World” by these various traders, about 90 percent of them were taken to the Caribbean and Central/South America and about 10 percent to North American colonies. All the original 13 English colonies utilized slaves (not just African slaves, but that is another subject). They were not economically feasible in the colder northern colonies/states, and so many were “sold South” due to climate and for economical utilization. A sad fact about the enslavement of many different peoples throughout human history is that they were considered economic property.
The U.S. protected slavery in its Constitution from its “final” adoption in 1789 through December 6, 1865 (76 years), but importation was outlawed in 1808. The Constitution of the Confederate States of America, which existed for four years, from 1861 to 1865, also protected slavery, but importation was constitutionally outlawed at its inception. Yes, slavery was practiced in both the northern Union and the Confederacy throughout the War Between the States, despite what you may have been “taught.”
The Union’s “Emancipation Proclamation” protected slavery in all Union states practicing it and in various areas in the Confederacy which the Union occupied and controlled; yet the absurd myth that the Union fought a war to end slavery is still promoted. The Union president himself categorically and specifically threatened in his inaugural address that he would only use “force” and “invasion” against the Confederate States to ensure his collection of “duties and imposts” (tariffs). These are facts, not opinions.
Somehow, barbaric iconoclasts have determined that the Confederate States of America, a Democratic republic existing four years, was responsible for this African slavery, which originated and has been practiced in Africa for over 4,000 years … a patent absurdity. Are we to strike the word “African” from every plaque and monument because Africans originated and practice their own slavery? And the U.S. flag — because it flew over a republic that protected slavery for 19 times longer than the Confederate States even existed — are these savages to haul it down, spit on it and kick it, as they have done to our veterans’ monuments?!
A. J. DuPree