Tuesday, October 28, 2008

New York fessing up to its role in the slave trade

Southerners are used to receiving self-righteous lectures from Yankees about slavery. The most recent by the normally sensible John Mark Reynolds. But now it looks like we might have to endure their confessions. New York, it turns out, is fessing up to its own role in the tragedy, thanks, ironically, to multiculturalism:
Prominent northern merchant, industrial and banking families built the ships, hired the captains and crews and financed the expeditions that snared millions of African men, women and children for forced labor in the Americas. Wealthy Northerners then used their profits to first fund the southern plantation system and then politically promote slaveholder goals. Northern capital, ships and business acumen carried cotton, sugar, rice and other plantation crops to world markets, and produced the chains and whips needed by planters and overseers. “I hear the sound of the hammer, I see the smoke of furnaces where manacles and fetters are forged for human hands,” said Senator Daniel Webster. He was standing in Boston when he spoke.

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