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From 1654 until 1865, slavery for life was legal within the boundaries of the present United States. Most slaves were black, and were held by whites, however some Native Americans and free blacks also held slaves. The majority of slaveholding was in the southern United States where most slaves were engaged in an efficient machine-like gang system of agriculture. According to the 1860 U.S. census, nearly four million slaves were held in a total population of just over 12 million in the 15 states in which slavery was still legal. Of all 1,515,605 families in the 15 slave states, 393,967 held slaves (roughly one in four), amounting to 8% of all American families. Most households, however, had only a few slaves. The concentration of slaves were held by planters, defined by historians as those who held 20 or more slaves. The planters achieved wealth and social and political power. Ninety-five percent of black people lived in the South, comprising one-third of the population there, as opposed to 2% of the population of the North.
The wealth of the United States in the first half of the 19th century was greatly enhanced by the labor of African Americans. But with the Union victory in the Civil War, the slave-labor system was abolished in the South. This led to the decline of the antebellum Southern economy. The large southern cotton plantations became much less profitable due to the loss of the efficiencies in the gang system of agriculture. Northern industry, which had expanded rapidly before and during the war, surged even further ahead of the South's agricultural economy. Industrialists from northeastern states came to dominate many aspects of the nation's life, including social and some aspects of political affairs. The planter class of the South lost power temporarily. The rapid economic development following the Civil War laid the groundwork for the modern U.S. industrial economy.
12 million black Africans were shipped to the Americas from the 16th to the 19th centuries. Of these, an estimated 645,000 (5.4% of the total) were brought to what is now the United States. The overwhelming majority were shipped to Brazil. The slave population in the United States had grown to four million by the 1860 Census.
When I went to school, we were never taught Black History. We never learned about the Black leaders, the long, agonizing history that brought most Blacks to America. Those atrocities were glossed over in favor of mindlessly boring topics like the X Y Z Affair.
This series of cartoons will review Black history as told from a Black mother to an interracial child. This series will be ugly, course, horrific and truthful. I will mostly abandon the commentary for an article on Black history.
This series is not about Obama or Hillary. I want to you to try to imagine how Black families tell their children of the atrocities their ancestors, all of them, suffered because of the color of their skin. Try to imagine how Black families counsel their children when someone calls them "nigger" for the first time. Can you imagine the bone crushing emotion that must well up? Can you imagine the agony, frustration and anger?
Can you imagine being the Black preacher who tries to paint a picture of a just God every Sunday? Especially in a country that claims where the notion of racism is a thing of the past, the job is difficult.
These strips may at times be entertaining and sometimes they may not - mostly not.
I don't want you to laugh so hard you cry, I want you to cry so hard you do something about it.