Why learn the true history of slavery?
In reply to a recent article in which I disclosed some neglected facts concerning race and slavery, a reader inquired as to the point in unveiling them. Before answering, let’s review some of the tidbits that I shared in the interest of that “honest discussion” of race that the Eric Holders of the world continually charge the rest of us with deferring:
(1) For centuries, millions of white European Christians were enslaved by Asian and African Muslims;
(2) The first slaves in Colonial America were white;
(3) Blacks were in America prior to slavery;
(4) A significant portion of African blacks who eventually became slaves in America were already Christian;
(5) These black slaves had been converted by the African blacks who sold them into bondage;
(6) During the antebellum period, there existed several thousand slave owners who were black;
(7) The first slave master in America was a black man, Anthony Johnson, an Angolan who had originally been sold into slavery by his fellow Africans to Arabs and who owned black and white servants.
There is still other historical “trivia” that defy the conventional narrative on race and slavery.
The civilized world, justly, expresses outrage over the abduction and enslavement of hundreds of young Nigerian schoolgirls at the hands of the African Islamic terrorist organization, Boko Haram. But the stone-cold truth of the matter is that this sort of thing has been transpiring in Africa from time immemorial. For millennia upon millennia, black Africans have seized upon and enslaved other black Africans. And, as notes famed Islamic scholar, Bernard Lewis, among others, from the dawn of Islam, Muslims have abducted and enslaved non-Muslims—both black and white.
It is estimated that well over 100 million black Africans died over the span of 14 centuries as they were marched across the scalding hot sands of the Sahara Desert by those Arab raiders and traders intent upon reducing them to a life of bondage in foreign lands.
In spite of the tremendous number of blacks transported to the Middle East, the latter consists of relatively few blacks today. Why? For one, African boys were frequently forced to undergo castration, a practice so barbaric that but a tiny percentage survived it. Those who did, however, fetched a purchasing price several times that of their peers who were not made into eunuchs.
Another consideration accounting for the miniscule black population in the contemporary Middle East is that African girls were sold as concubines and into sex slavery to Arab masters. This reflected the Islamic belief—most recently articulated by the leader of Boko Haram but first stated in the Koran and practiced by Muhammad—that girls can and should become wives once they are nine years of age. Upon begetting their masters’ offspring, many eventually became assimilated into their families.
But, thirdly, the tragic fact is that many slaves were simply worked to death.
What follows are some other fascinating truths that are a “must” for any truly honest discussion of race and slavery:
While whites were by no means unique in practicing slavery, they were indeed unique insofar as they were the first people in all of history to have developed a moral revulsion against this age-old institution. No one liked being abducted and enslaved by others. But many of these same unfortunates wouldn’t have hesitated to do the same to others if the opportunity had arisen. Whites, more specifically, English white Christians, personified and led by the conservative William Wilberforce, succeeded in prevailing upon the British Empire—the most economically and militarily powerful presence on the planet at that time—to abolish slavery, not just in England or even within the Empire, but in every area of the globe over which Britain could hope to exercise any of its influence.
More scandalously, the British met with much resistance from Arabs, Asians, and Africans. Bernard Lewis relays an exchange between a British Consul General in Morocco and the Sultan of that land that typifies precisely the challenges to its campaign against slavery that the English had to surmount. When the Sultan was asked what he had done to relegate to the dustbin of history the trade in human flesh, he “replied, in a letter expressing evident astonishment, that ‘the traffic in slaves is a matter on which all sects and nations have agreed from the time of the sons of Adam…up to this day.’” The Sultan added that slavery’s permissibility was “manifest to both high and low and requires no more demonstration than the light of day.”
Incidentally, England’s success was a long time coming, for in some parts of the non-European world, places like India and Saudi Arabia, slavery didn’t become illegal until the 1940s and 1960s, respectively.
My reader who inquired as to the “point” in raising these facts at no time denies any of them. Thus, he confirms what some of us have long suspected: in their tireless promotion of the conventional orthodoxy on race and slavery in America, neither he nor his ilk has ever been in the least bit interested in history for its own sake. Rather, there has always been a “point” to their campaign, the advancement of a political agenda involving fictions concerning perpetual black suffering, white oppression, and white guilt.
The facts to which I allude here frustrate that agenda.
And this, by the way, is “the point” of mentioning them.
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