N.W.BOYER…Christian Author

Posts tagged “Emancipation Proclamation

Will We be Picking up the Pieces of History in the Future? Are we ERASING American History?

Are we erasing history?   Every generation has its conflicts…wars…inequalities and disputes.  One might even today believe that the United States of America is coming apart at the seams and will someday have to pick up the pieces of our history that are being destroyed or hidden away.

People who are part of history never have had unanimous beliefs.  Headlines may read  “The KKK and White Supremacists Fight a Race war in the U.S.” …or “Everyone Hates the Police…or “The President is an Evil Racist.”   Wait a minute…perhaps we should get a handle on things!   What exactly does our very short U.S. history tell us about dissent and civil unrest?

The news clips and internet videos show that the recent violence in Virginia appears to be made up of young people as do the worldwide clips of terrorism and unrest.  What is this saying about our future generations and public property?  Have they not learned anything from historical figures such as Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks or Mahatma Gandhi about a peaceful protest for change?

Rosa Parks sat up front

Rosa Parks rides in front of the bus for whites only

Remaining Silent

A slave owner’s comment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

non violent protest ML King

Rev. King learned peaceful march from Gandhi

 

It is true that there has been recent disputes and bloodshed over the removal of Southern, historical statues.  Most politicians and Americans condemn such violence. As much as I dislike many of the things our President says, I agree when he said, “Where does this stop?”  Will we have to rename Washington, D.C., our Capitol, because George Washington was an owner of slaves?   What will happen to Mt. Rushmore? Mount-Rushmore-National-Memorial

Some would say that the actions of removing monuments is to “sanitize history.”  Yet, according to the writings of Chris Graham, there can not be any sanitizing or rewriting history.  He is correct on that point.  History is history and should remain a lesson from which we learn.  It should not be a lesson that is erased.

As an example, what would one think if we went to Auschwitz and removed the evidence of one of the most heinous crimes in history?    Would we think that the Germans of today, who were not part of the Nazi era, would be offended and therefore the suitcases, eyeglasses, gassing buildings, ovens and Nazi signs should all be taken down?   I think we know the answer to that….No, of course not!  Would out of sight also mean out of mind?   The Jews, by the millions,  suffered as well as Christians who spoke out, gypsies, and homosexuals. If we tried to sanitize that period of history,  we could be opening up another generation to treat these same people to another Holocaust…because they had learned nothing from history?  We are also told that “those who do not remember history, will live it over again.”  This includes the generation that is not taught history.  Thankfully, we have people like Stephen Spielberg who is recording the stories of the Holocaust survivors to preserve for all times.

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The defacing of Confederate General, Robert E.Lee statue at Duke University Chapel entrance in Durham, North Carolina in 2017. The statue was removed. No word on the prosecuting of the vandals of private property at a University which was founded by the Christian United Methodist Church.

Chris Graham says “…you can’t rewrite the history of the United States to the point of sanitizing our collective experiences to meet the demands of our 21st-century sensibilities. Slavery was literally written into our Constitution…”    (See paragraph below on the 13th Amendment)

“Even the great Thomas Jefferson, as he penned the Declaration of Independence, not even arguably the most important written document in human history, owned slaves at the time he put the words to paper and did for the remaining 50 years of his life after.  George Washington owned slaves. Abraham Lincoln demurred over the Emancipation Proclamation. Every president and Supreme Court justice and other statesmen of any significance between Washington and Jefferson and today acquiesced in the perpetuation of slavery, Jim Crow, massive resistance, housing and job discrimination, mass incarceration and disenfranchisement, dilution of voting power through political gerrymandering. We don’t have the capacity to produce enough bleach to cleanse the sins of our past, our present and the ones that we will continue to commit into the distant future. 

But our collective history is more than our collective sins. Jefferson, a slaveholder, breathed life into the concept that all men are created equal. Washington led our armies to victory in our American Revolution. Lincoln did issue the Emancipation Proclamation and prosecuted the war against rebels intent on preserving the institution of slavery to the bitter end. Women waged a decades-old battle to win the right to vote that had been denied them. We persevered through a Depression and then immediately after defeated a literal axis of fascism, and the seeds of that victory jump-started a civil rights movement that de-codified Jim Crow and thrust our nation into the modern era…”

The Civil War was fought between April 12, 1861 and May 9, 1865.  Abraham Lincoln issued the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation (Freeing the slaves) on September 22nd, 1862. It stipulated that if the Southern states did not cease their rebellion by January 1st, 1863, then Proclamation would go into effect.

13th Amendment to the Constitution (The Abolishment of Slavery)

“Before the Civil War ended, Congress passed and sent to the states for ratification, the Thirteenth Amendment which abolished “slavery” and “involuntary servitude” and authorized Congress to enact “appropriate legislation” implementing the abolition.  The Amendment was understood to also make blacks citizens of the United States (overruling Dred Scott on that point).  The House vote to propose the Thirteenth Amendment followed the Senate vote and barely made the 2/3 majority requirement.  When the vote was announced the galleries cheered, congressmen embraced and wept, and Capitol cannons boomed a 100-gun salute.  Congressman George Julian of Indiana wrote in his diary, “I have felt, ever since the vote, as if I were in a new country.”  Ratification by the states quickly followed, and Secretary of State Seward proclaimed the Amendment adopted on December 18, 1865.
Less than a year after ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment, Congress used its newly conferred power to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1866, giving black citizens “the same right in every state…to make and enforce contracts, to sue, be parties, …to inherit, purchase, sell, and convey real and personal property; and to the full and equal benefit of all laws and proceedings for the security of person and property as is enjoyed by white citizens.”  Supporters of the 1866 law argued that its guarantees constituted  “appropriate” means of “enforcing” the right of blacks not to be held in bondage.

The Thirteenth Amendment, unlike most provisions in the Constitution, is self-executing, in that it directly reaches-even without action by Congress- conduct by private individuals (slave holders).  Because of this fact, Congress’s power under the Thirteenth Amendment allows it to punish forms of private conduct when it might not be able to do so under an amendment such as the Fourteenth, which restricts the conduct of states (prohibiting states from denying equal protection of the laws or due process).”(Exploring Constitutional Conflicts)

What about the removal of Southern, historical monuments?   Many of our artistic, beautiful bronze statues are headed for the warehouses…unless they are pulverized first.  Should we take a lesson from a more recent history where ISIS, that is good at destroying antiquities and monuments with which they do not agree, bombed a 2,000-year-old temple in Syria?

Think of it.  Will we someday have scientists and archeologists sifting through the ruins or warehouses to find the antiquities of our American past?   The people of Syria are desperately trying to save every piece of their temple history, even at their own peril. They are collecting even the smallest pieces, photographing, and storing them in boxes to save for future generations.    CNN VIDEO on Syria  

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2,000-year-old Temple of Baalshamin, historic ruins of Palmyra, Syria, was blown up by ISIS to show their power over the people

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes, many of our nation’s founders were slave holders.  Today everyone is appalled with the history of slavery and the hate that it inspired.  It took too long to right a wrong, but finally, our government leaders decided to do something about those in bondage and the terrible road they had traveled…literally, from far away shores that they called home.slaves at Foller House 1862- Library of Congress

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yet throughout our history, people of color rose above the discrimination and sadness they encountered.   Below are a few examples of over 118 African Americans who chose to build and develop America by their inventions and expertise. The list of white inventors…or Asian or Hispanic would also be long.  However, the color of the skin made no difference.  In any case, the people who made America what it is today only tried to better it and not destroy it.  So many of the videos that show the recent violence appear to be mainly young people.  Let’s hope that they will learn about these people and our history that worked for us in building a great nation. Each of these people had a vision of their self-worth and acted upon it.

Self Respect

Gandhi promoted Peaceful Protest in India

A few African Americans from previous history and modern history:

Alexander Ashbourne biscuit cutter

Invented the biscuit cutter

George-Crum potato chip

Invented the Potato Chip

Sara Boone Ironing board

Invented the ironing board

 

  • George Washington Carver:    Discovered hundreds of uses for previously useless vegetables and fruits, principally the peanut.
  •  Sarah Boone:   Invented the ironing board,  allowing sleeves of women’s garments to be ironed more easily
  • Harold Amos:  Microbiologist    Harvard Medical School Department Chair
  • George Alcorn Edward, Jr.:  Physicist    Invented a method of fabricating X-ray spectrometer
  • Archie Alexander:  Civil Engineer  Responsible for construction of roads and bridges including the  Tidal Basin Bridge and Baltimore- Washington Parkway
  • Leonard Bailey:  Inventor of the folding bed
  • Alice Augusta Ball: chemist  Extracted chaulmoogra oil for treatment of leprosy
  • Benjamin Banneker:  Mathematician, astronomer, surveyor of Washington, D.C.
  • Janet Basher:   First African-American woman to receive a patent for a web-based software invention, LinkLine, an Equal Employment Opportunity case management and tracking software
  • David Crosthwait Jr.:  Heating, ventilation, air conditioning patents  ( 40 US patents) relating to the HVAC systems        See the entire list of 118 

Modern Day contributors to our American history:

Carl Maxie Brashear US Naby Master Diver 1970

Carl Brashear 1970 U.S. Navy Master Diver

 

Dr. Patricia Bath cataract

Dr. Patricia Bath Contributor to the success of cataract surgery

first black woman in space Mae Jemison

Mae Jennison 1st Black Woman in U.S. Space program

 

Major Merryl Tengesdal Only black woman to fly AF Elite U-2 Spy Plane

Major Meryl Tengesdal First Black woman to fly Air Force Elite U-2 Spy Plane

All of us must decide to be a part of building a better America through cooperation, non-violent discussions, and protests needed for change.  We should look to history from which to learn and from which to teach the lessons that are needed for a better tomorrow for all generations.  If we continue to tear down, destroy, promote violence that leads to death and injury or disrespect the history of our country, we will be no better than other countries that are having to pick up the pieces of their violators.  Americans…We must not be like ISIS…destroying and turning our backs on our past.  We are a young country and our monuments and statues are not thousands of years old, but they are OUR HISTORY.   Our future generations need to know about their ancestors…for good or for bad.   Disagreement does not mean DESTRUCTION. 

VIDEO:  Take a look.  Do we want to be like this?  Remember, it all started with the destruction of the FIRST statue and monument.  We must not be a part of erasing history.  

In Honor and Memory of Khaled al-Asaad, Antiquities Director, murdered by ISIS for refusing to divulge the storage of historical antiquities. (Look for another blog to come on his amazing life.)

 


FREEDOM What is in a word?

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Our road to freedom for all has not been an easy one, but it is one that is continually worked on in the United States.  Our founding fathers of this nation would not know our country in years past or today as they worked hard to overcome the inequalities of all humans and to build a country where freedom is for all.

They had to work through their own problems of slavery, finally giving freedom under the Emancipation Proclamation.  In later years we as a nation had to make things better for native Americans whose lands had been taken and whose sufferings were evident in the Trail of Tears.   Men of character stood up to speak for the civil rights of all through demonstrations and civil rights sit ins.  Our soldiers have stood duty around the world to guarantee that no nation would take these freedoms away from our homeland.  Evil raised it’s head once more and brought the terror of removing our freedoms in our present day.   We must all know what what these freedoms mean and vow that they will never be taken away.

 

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Dr. Martin Luther King, the voice of Civil Rights and freedom for all. He advocated non-violent protests.

The word FREEDOM is defined as :

  • the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.
  • absence of subjection to foreign domination or despotic government or
    the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved.
    Just as anyone who has lost their freedom or in our past history, those who had to fight for their freedoms, FREEDOM has  great meaning.  Men of good will have seen the wrongs done and have tried to set things right. We know that through new laws and legislation, all can eat in restaurants, have access to education and much more in our country.   Sadly, the non-violent approach to protest so cherished by Dr. King has lost its way in many cities, even though many try to stay true to his beliefs.  Buildings and businesses have been burned and destroyed bringing no one to a better life or more justice.  Freedom, as we desire it, is lost in this type of aggression for those who want change the most.
    fergerson-burning-after-protest
      We usually think of someone being imprisoned or taken hostage in deplorable conditions when we think of lost freedoms.    It actually is more than that.  If a person has been active and suddenly is disabled in someway that they no longer can do the things they once did, this is a loss of freedom.   Many are courageous and build upon a new life.   As far as the freedoms we enjoy because we have a government and a Constitution that guarantees our liberty and freedom, we may not think of what it would be like to lose it as other nations have.
    Let us think about that for a moment.
    What are some of our basic freedoms in this country and other countries world-wide with a democracy?
    Here in the U.S. we are have the following freedoms guaranteed by the THE BILL OF RIGHTS.  If you are an American citizen and do not know your rights, then you should read this carefully.  Men and women have died for the protection of these rights for you. 
    (Some history in brief)
     “In drafting the Constitution, most of the Founding Fathers believed that the safeguards written into it would protect the rights of Americans. But when the Constitution was sent to the states in 1787 for ratification, a great roar of disapproval went up. In Virginia, Patrick Henry protested vigorously against the lack of a specific statement of rights. Other Americans from different states demanded that a Bill of Rights be added to the Constitution. A number of states ratified the Constitution only conditionally. That is, they would approve the Constitution only if it were changed to include these rights.  Two years after the new American government went into effect, the Bill of Rights was added as the first ten amendments to the Constitution. Congress discussed nearly 200 proposals for amendments before it presented these ten to the states for approval. The states ratified these amendments, and they became part of the Constitution in 1791:
    FREEDOM OF RELIGION  ...guarantees to all Americans the right to practice any religion they choose, or to practice no religion at all.  (Notice it was chosen first.)
    Congress is forbidden to establish any religion as our nation’s official religion. Congress cannot favor any one religion over others or tax citizens in order to support any one religion.

    FREEDOM OF SPEECH…The right to express your ideas and opinions… Freedom of speech also means the right to listen to the thoughts and opinions of others. This freedom guarantees that Americans are free to express their thoughts and ideas about anything. They may talk freely to their friends and neighbors or speak in public to a group of people. Of course, no one may use his freedom of speech to injure others. If a person knowingly says things that are false about another, he may be sued in court by the person or persons who believe they have been harmed by what he said. Americans are free to express opinions about their government or anything else. They are free to criticize the actions of the government and of government officials. In a dictatorship, where the nation’s government has all the powers, the people have no right to speak like this. They do not dare to criticize the actions of the government. If they do, they may be imprisoned. But all Americans enjoy the freedom of speech, which is guaranteed in the First Amendment.

    FREEDOM OF THE PRESS…The freedom to express your ideas and opinions in writing. This freedom is closely related to freedom of speech…This writing may be in newspapers, books, magazines, or any other printed or written form. Americans are also free to read what others write. They may read any newspaper, book or magazine they want. Because they are free to read a variety of facts and opinions, Americans can become better-informed citizens.  (Reading does not necessarily mean agreement to what is written.)

    FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY …freedom to hold meetings. Americans are free to meet together to discuss problems and to plan their actions. Of course, such meetings must be carried on in a peaceful way.

    FREEDOM OF PETITION…The freedom of petition is the right to ask your government to do something or to refrain from doing something… The freedom of petition gives you the right to write to your Congressman and request him to work for the passage of laws you favor. You are free to ask him to change laws that you do not like. The right of petition also helps government officials to know what Americans think and what actions they want the government to take.

    THE RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS…The Second Amendment to the Constitution guarantees Americans the right to bear arms. In the early years of our nation, Americans needed weapons in order to serve in the militia, or volunteer armies, that were established to defend our states. The militia provided protection during emergencies, too. Many Americans also believed that without weapons they would be powerless if the government tried to overstep its powers and rule by force.

    “NO-QUARTERING” RIGHT…The Third Amendment states, “No soldier shall, in times of peace, be quartered in any house. . . .” Under British rule, the colonists sometimes had to feed and house British soldiers against their will. As a result, Americans wanted this practice forbidden under the Bill of Rights.

    THE RIGHT TO EQUAL JUSTICE…The Bill of Rights contains many rights that are guaranteed to persons accused of a crime. Amendments Five, Six, Seven, and Eight are all concerned with these rights. Our nation places great importance on these rights in order to guarantee equal justice for all Americans.

    1. A person must be indicted, or formally accused of a crime, by a group of citizens called a “grand jury” before he can be brought into court for trial.
    2. A person accused of a crime is guaranteed the right to know what law he is accused of breaking.
    3. A person accused of a crime has a right to a prompt public trial by a jury of his fellow citizens.
    4. An accused person cannot be put into prison and kept there for weeks or months while awaiting a trial. He has the right to leave jail, in most cases, if he can raise a certain sum of money, or bail, as a pledge that he will appear at his trial.
    5. An accused person has a right to a lawyer to represent him in court.
    6. All the testimony and evidence against an accused person must be presented publicly in court.
    7. The accused person has the right to call any witnesses to appear if their testimony will help him.
    8. The accused person cannot be forced to testify or give evidence against himself.
    9. If the accused person is found guilty, he cannot be given cruel or unusual punishment. If the accused person is found not guilty of a serious crime, he cannot be tried a second time for this same crime.

    THE RIGHT TO OWN PRIVATE PROPERTY…The Fifth Amendment guarantees Americans the right to own private property. No person may take away anything that we own. Nor can the government seize our land, money, or other forms of property without cause, or without paying for it. The right to own private property is one of America’s basic freedoms. Our free economic system is based upon this right.eagles-and-flag

    THE RIGHT TO ENJOY MANY OTHER FREEDOMS…To make doubly sure that Americans should enjoy every right and freedom possible, Amendment Nine was added to the Constitution. This amendment states that the list of rights contained in the Bill of Rights is not complete. There are many other rights that all Americans have and will continue to have even though they are not mentioned in the Bill of Rights. Among them are the following.

    1. Freedom to work at any job for which we can qualify
    2. Freedom to marry and raise a family
    3. Freedom to receive a free education in good public schools
    4. Freedom to join a political party, a union, and other legal groups
    5. Freedom to live or travel anywhere in our nation

    flag-on-barn

    As a final guarantee of our rights, the Tenth Amendment set aside many powers of government for the states. This Amendment says that all powers not given to the federal government by the Constitution, nor forbidden to the states, are set aside for the states, or for the people. This provision leaves with the states the power to act in many ways to guarantee the rights of their citizens.

    SUMMARY

    Government is the authority or power that people establish to help them run their affairs.
    Governments serve many important purposes, but the most important one is that government makes it possible for people to live and work together. Government provides us with rules of conduct we can follow. Government makes it possible for people to live by known laws, and helps provide many services that citizens acting alone could not perform themselves.
    Our nation’s government is based on the American Constitution. This Constitution, together with its Bill of Rights and other amendments, provides us with a workable plan of government. The Constitution also guarantees to all Americans many priceless rights and freedoms.
    Our nation’s government is based upon the approval, or consent, of the people who are governed. It is a federal system in which certain powers are given to the national government and other powers are left to the states and to the people. Certain powers are shared by both federal and state governments. In both federal and state governments, powers are separated and balanced among three branches of government.   (From: Hartley, William H., Vincent, William S.. American Civics. N.Y., 1974, pp. 34ff)

    Protesting has its place in our democracy, but the statement below should make us think seriously about the cost of freedom, for it is not free. 

    flag-covered-bodied

    Video:  Our National Anthem:  A tribute to all who love our country and our American flag, the symbol of our FREEDOM.  (turn on sound)

 


The Fabric of America

My writing has taken me into a new series called, The Blue Ridge Mountains.  It is a collection of books that celebrate the life and work of the people who live in and around the beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway of Virginia and North Carolina.  In researching my stories of the books, it has been my privilege to interview a number of people whose roots go back generations.  Many small, family grave plots can be seen in the hills. Some have a small flag or stone that reads that the person was a Civil War member of the Confederacy dating back into the 1800’s. They are proud of their history and do not think of their confederate flag as a symbol of racism or bigotry, but of the bravery of the men who fought against those who had invaded their land and homes.

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Hearing their stories has brought to mind how tied the people are to their mountains and their history. The “Yankee” troops that marched through these valleys and hills during the Civil War, marched on afterward to return to their northern states.

The people of the South pulled themselves up to endure rebuilding and hardship, becoming a strong part of “one nation under God”.   Slavery was no more.  The long road to equality began far after the ships arrived with its human cargo from Africa.

african-americans-during-civil-war

As an retired educator, I know the emphasis that I put on history in the classroom, but it has almost become, in recent years, politically incorrect to talk about slavery…even the Emancipation Proclamation which freed them.   It appears that the climate of the country is to bury our heads about the past. Remembering it no more must be the road to the future. I think that this way of thinking is wrong for we should learn from our past.   In all fairness, the nation must have believed that they had passed racial tensions and elected an African American President twice to follow in the footsteps of Presidents like Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson. When we see violence in our streets and children who can’t walk to school in our large cities without the fear of being shot, one wonders if we have learned anything from the strife of the past.

We have a fabric in America that is woven from many different threads and backgrounds. Most school children today probably do not know that there are descendants of Thomas Jefferson, the writer of the Declaration of Independence, who meet each year to celebrate who they are and to tell their stories. Many are highly educated because education was placed as a priority. (See video at end)

thomas-jefferson-3rd-pres-of-u-s-1801-1809Who exactly was Thomas Jefferson?  He certainly was a man of great contradictions. A graduate in law from the College of William and Mary, he at times defended slaves seeking freedom, but owned a large number of slaves himself.  He represented Virginia in the Continental Congress…drafting the law for religious freedom…served as a governor and became the U.S. Minister to France…served as Secretary of State under President George Washington.  He penned  “all men are created equal.” and had a strong belief in states rights.

Jefferson also became the 3rd President of the United States. There were many issues to deal with, as there are today, for this nation.  Jefferson’s were concerning trade and pirates. He doubled the size of the country with the Louisiana Purchase.  Not only was there controversy with slavery, but he began the removal of Indian tribes to the newly organized Louisiana Territory….but signed the Act Prohibiting Importation of Slaves.  (Yes, a difficult, but talented man to understand in the midst of a growing, new nation. )  Jefferson’s talents were in mathematics, surveying, horticulture and mechanics.

He was a Christian well versed in linguistics and spoke several languages.”Baptized in his youth, Jefferson became a governing member of his local Episcopal Church in Charlottesville, VA.  Influenced by Deist authors during his college years Jefferson abandoned “orthodox” Christianity.   In 1803 he asserted, ‘I am Christian, in the only sense in which Jesus wished any one to be.’ Jefferson later defined being a Christian as one who followed the simple teachings of Jesus.”

He was the founder of the University of Virginia after leaving public office.

plantation_lucycotrell

(Story behind picture of Lucy Cottrell was the daughter of Dorothea (Dolly) Cottrell, a house servant at Monticello who, after 1826, became the property of George Blaetterman, a professor at the University of Virginia. About 1850 Dolly and Lucy Cottrell went to Maysville, Kentucky, with the professor’s widow, who freed them five years later. In this daguerreotype Lucy Cottrell is holding Charlotte, daughter of Blaetterman’s foster son.)

Jefferson must have taken it literally that all of his hundreds of slaves belonged to him to do with as he liked.  After the death of his wife in 1782, he had a relationship with Sally Hemings and fathered at least one of her children. This may have been the beginning of those who now have Jefferson as part of their heritage.  Nevertheless, despite the events in his life that makes him controversial, he is consistently ranked as one of the countries “Greatest Presidents”.   Presidents are often making decisions to foster their own legacy.  History will play out whether the time in office points to greatness or the lack thereof.

Video.  Turn on sound and enlarge for best viewing.

 


Palmetto Specialty Group LLC “New Prints of Low Land Country Plantations and Historic Slave Houses”

IMG_0770They stand under the great oaks with moss blowing in the wind.  These are the old, historic slave dwellings.  Life was difficult, but they found a strength to carry on.  Some fled to the north through the Underground Railroad…with help from the white and black population. Most stayed on until the United States of America  passed the Emancipation Proclamation that freed all slaves.  Even then, some did not know what to do outside of these grounds that had Masters who told them what to do.  To see these run-down places, we remember how precious freedom really is….especially to those whose ancestry never knew it.

History, whether good or bad, is important to protect.  Our future generations need to understand its meaning.  That is why we have added many of the photography taken in the low country of South Carolina to our list of available prints.  See these at    Old Slave Dwellings.   (Scroll down the page of prints)

Also, if you missed the in-depth blog about this area, click back at the bottom of this writing  to see what life was like in the “Old South” low country of the USA  “Gone with the Wind”IMG_0839


Slavery: Three Men and Their Passion to make a Difference

    

Slave Market in Atlanta 1864

What do the names Zinzendorf, Wilberforce and Newton  have in common?   They each had a passion to right the wrongs  forced on other human beings.  The moments  they experienced, led them to spend a life-time  changing the world.     

   Slavery was a going business in the world.  It brought big money and wealth to those who were in this trade.   It brought tragedy to the black families around the world.  Unless one walked in the shoes of  two, white Moravian Christians who sold themselves into slavery for the purpose of  ministering  to the slaves, one would never know this existence.    

  Zinzendorf was German.  Wilberforce  and  Newton were both English.       

Drawing and early news article on slave ships

 

John Newton Author of "Amazing Grace"

 

Starting with perhaps the most dramatic of stories, few may know the life of John Newton even though they have heard “Amazing Grace” in church, funerals and in the entertainment world.        

       

John Newton:          

Newton was born in London July 24, 1725, the son of a commander of a merchant ship.  In 1744, John sailed in such intolerable conditions on the man-of war, the H.M.S. Harwich, that he deserted.  A public flogging occurred when he was captured and demoted from midshipman to a common seaman.  He was sent into service on a slave ship that went to Sierra Leone.  Being the servant of a slave trader, he was brutally abused.  Fortunately, a sea-captain who knew his father, rescued him and he ultimately became the captain of his own slave ship.        

The worst conditions imaginable were found on these ships of human cargo.  When returning home to England through a violent storm,  he recorded in his journal the moment that he experienced his “great deliverance“.  It appeared that the ship would sink and all would be lost.   He cried out, ” Lord have mercy on us!”  He reflected on what he had said.      However, God met him in the midst of the raging storm and brought him out of a life of slave trading into a life of faith.   .   The words that he wrote became a testimony to his life and the changes that God brought.        

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  William Wilberforce:    

For twenty-six years, Wilberforce headed a campaign against British slave trade.  His was the creation of a free colony in Sierra Leone.  Sometimes he was criticized for his efforts in anti-slavery abroad and not enough help to the socially deprived at home.  However, he persisted.  Just three days after Parliament abolished slavery with the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833, Wilberforce died and was buried at Westminster Abbey.       

Movie on Life of Wilberforce

 

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Count Nikolaus Zinzendorf

 

        

         

Count Nikolaus Ludwig won Zinzendorf:           

Fifty years before Wilberforce, a wealthy German visited a museum where he saw a painting of Christ.  Under it were the words,” This I did for you.  What will you do for me?”    This was  moment when he dedicated his life a service for Christ.   A group of Moravians, who were at the time a Christian sect in the Czech Republic, asked to locate on his land.  In 1727, a convent was formed; a twenty-four hour prayer circle begun, which lasted for 100 years.  Wilberforce made friends with a former slave who had converted to Christianity.     When Wilberforce died, he had organized missions throughout Europe, Greenland, and South Africa.       

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In the early settling of America, slaves made America prosper.  Slaves worked the cotton fields and in other products.  Slavery was not only in the South, but other parts of America.  Many of our founding fathers owned slaves.  Pictures were rare because no one wanted  to advertise and document their dark trade . Some  slaves were treated more humanly than others.        

It wasn’t until later that President Lincoln decided the slave trade would be left to the British and others.  He would enforce the law, largely ignored, against the trades of this sort.  One of the most notorious slave traders in the USA was Nathanael Gordon of Maine.    He was hung for his deeds as a trader in 1862.   Here is an account of the conditions on one of his ships, which carried hundreds of men, women and children:      

The slaves were stowed so closely that during the entire voyage they appeared to be in great agony. The details are sickening, but as fair exponents of the result of this close stowing, we will but mention that running sores and cutaneous diseases of the most painful as well as contagious character infected the entire load. Decency was unthought of; privacy was simply impossible — nastiness and wretchedness reigned supreme. From such a state of affairs we are not surprised to learn that, during the passage of fifteen days, twenty-nine of the sufferers died, and were thrown overboard.”      

At the end of the lives of Zinzendorf, Wilberforce and Newton, their contributions and work to change the  laws around the world saved many human beings  from the fate of slavery.      

 QUESTION:   If it had not been for the lives of men like these, would we still have slave ships today?      

    Most school children have been taught about the  EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION and  President Lincoln in the USA.  Do they know about these  Christian men who helped change the plight of thousands?    I think one knows the answer to this lack of education.     

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Plantation Slaves

 

       

       

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

       

 
 
 
 

      

 
 
 
 
 
 

Elderly Slave

 

Woman Slave

 

Slave on steps

 

Amazing grace! (how sweet the sound)
That sav’d a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.    
    

’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears reliev’d;
How precious did that grace appear,
The hour I first believ’d!   
    

Thro’ many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
’Tis grace has brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home… Written by John Newton    
    

Click to see movie clips on Wilberforce and Newton