Black Slave Owners

Like many wealthy landowners of the pre-Civil War South, Sherrod Bryant owned slaves. They probably worked much of Bryant’s 700 acres in Middle Tennessee, an area larger than that of Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage plantation.
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Link to column: Were some U.S. slave owners black? - The Straight Dope

I’m surprised that Cecil described this phenomenon in the past tense. Here in the DC area, a couple times a year someone gets arrested for owning a slave/exploiting an unpaid domestic worker. Usually, both the exploiter and exploited are from Africa and the slave owner has some kind of diplomatic status. One such exploiter, upon his arrest back in the 90s, actually said “Americans may not have the cultural context to understand this work arrangement.” Dude, you’re across the river from Virginia. If anyone understands the nuances of that arrangement, it’s us!

Ah, but from his viewpoint, we must be ignorant, because we look at slavery, and don’t understand that there’s nothing wrong with it.

Not to give these people any cover, but the slavery that existed in Africa for hundreds/thousands(?) of years is a different strain than that in America. The African strain had to do with conquest. So, you may be my slave today, but I may be yours tomorrow. The American strain was based on racial superiority. Thus, it was not an accident of circumstance that put one person under another, but the natural order of things. Blacks in America were treated as possessions, ones that were less than human. They were viewed as such not with hatred and animosity, but with the superiority one may feel over any of his other possessions: cattle, a dog, etc. Granted, not everyone held these odious beliefs, but it was prevalent enough, especially prior to the founding of the country (which, at least forced a discussion), for it to define the culture.

In Africa and the Middle East, it is sometimes hard to draw a line between slavery and indentured servitude. The latter was often viewed as a sensible way to settle debts. I think I recall seeing on 60 Minutes that this is on place even today in India.

That may be generally true, but the Yoruba who sold their cousins to white guys on ships had a pretty good idea how the future would play out for them–if not the first wave of sales, certainly the second, third and beyond.

I’m not sure what you mean this. Could you clarify? To start, does “them” refer to the Yoruba, or their cousins?

My cat loves to eat spaghetti sauce, but only if it contains garlic.
In other words, what is it you would like to debate?

**Krokodil ** said:

And the fact that they’re arrested doesn’t clarify that for you? Cecil was talking about historic slavery on the U.S., slavery that was legal and an established part of the culture and society. Why would he bring up foreign citizens who are visting this country violating this country’s laws because of their own cultural background?

Another example: William Johnson, the famous “Barber of Natchez.”

African slave dealers sold slaves to Europeans in ships, knowing and not caring that the slaves in question would not be treated by local rules (i.e. be set free after a prescribed time).

Thanks for the clarification. Now, I could see how that might not care, but how would they know this? Europeans would stop be west Africa and pick up slaves. They’d sell them in the Colonies, and then bring goods back to Europe and start the cycle over. I don’t see who would have disclosed the information to the african slave traders.

Considering that the vast majority of slaves who died in the Atlantic Crossing died long before they ever saw a white slave trader, it is safe to assume that their captors had no qualms whatsoever about how badly they were mistreated.

Wait. Slave trade routes were triangular: West Africa > New World > Europe > West Africa, etc.? So, how would the person who sold them the slaves know how badly they were treated afterward?

Do you really think that slave-ship crewmen didn’t make it bloody obvious with every look?

LonesomePolecat said:

Uh, weren’t the ship owners and crew white? So if they died during the Atlantic Crossing, they died in the hands of white slave traders.