Did Thomas Jefferson own Slaves? #204

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Thomas JeffersonThird President of the United States

Series on Presidential Slavery

Thomas Jefferson was born at the family home in Shadwell in the Colony of Virginia. His father Peter Jefferson was a planter and surveyor.  Peter Jefferson moved his family to Tuckahoe Plantation in 1745 upon the death of William Randolph, the plantation’s owner the Jefferson’s returned to Shadwell, where Peter died in 1757; his estate was divided between his sons Thomas and Randolph. Thomas inherited approximately 5,000 acres of land, including Monticello. He assumed full authority over his property at age 21.

In 1768, Jefferson began constructing his primary residence Monticello (Italian for “Little Mountain”) on a hilltop overlooking his 5,000-acre plantation.  He spent most of his adult life designing Monticello as architect and was quoted as saying, “Architecture is my delight, and putting up, and pulling down, one of my favorite amusements.”  

Construction was done mostly by local masons and carpenters, assisted by Jefferson’s slaves.  He moved into the South Pavilion in 1770. Turning Monticello into a masterpiece it was his continuing project.

On January 1, 1772, Jefferson married his third cousin,  Martha Wayles Skelton, the 23-year-old widow of Bathurst Skelton, and she moved into the South Pavilion.  During their ten years of marriage, Martha bore six children.

Martha’s father John Wayles died in 1773 and the couple inherited 135 people of color who were legally enslaved, and 11,000 acres.   Martha later suffered from ill health, a few months after the birth of her last child, she died.  Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States, owned more than 600 African-American slaves throughout his adult life.  

Jefferson consistently spoke out against the international slave trade, outlawed while he was President, while he advocated gradual emancipation and colonization of domestic slaves. He believed black people were inherently inferior to white people and thought it was best the two races remained segregated.

Jefferson was a lifelong advocate of ending the slave trade and as president led the effort to criminalize the international slave trade that passed Congress and he signed in 1807, shortly before Britain passed a similar law.  This type of individual is a “fence rider”; they have slaves while trying to free them?

Jefferson supported gradual emancipation, training, and colonization of African-American slaves, believing that releasing unprepared people with no place to go and no means to support themselves would only bring them misfortune. In 1784, Jefferson proposed federal legislation banning slavery in the New Territories of the North and South after 1800, which failed to pass Congress by one vote.  

Jefferson expressed the beliefs that slavery corrupted both masters and slaves alike, supported colonization of freed slaves, promoted the idea that African-Americans were inferior in intelligence, and that emancipating large numbers of slaves made slave uprisings more likely.

After the death of his wife Martha, Jefferson had a long-term relationship with her half-sister, Sally Heming’s, a slave at Monticello.  Jefferson allowed two of Sally Heming’s surviving four children to “escape”; the other two he freed through his will after his death.  The children were the only family to gain freedom from Monticello.

In 1824, Jefferson proposed a national plan to end slavery by the federal government purchasing African-American slave children for $12.50, raising and training them in occupations of freemen, and sending them to the country of Santo Domingo.   

In his will, Jefferson freed three older men who had been forced to work for him for decades.  In 1827, the remaining 130 people who had been kept as slaves at Monticello were sold to pay the debts of Jefferson’s estate.

Although Jefferson is regarded as a leading spokesman for democracy, some modern scholarships has been critical of him, finding a contradiction between his ownership and trading of many slaves that worked his plantations, and his famous declaration that “all men are created equal.”

Yet, Jefferson continues to ranked high among U.S. presidents.


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Did John Adams own slaves? #203

Series on Presidential Slavery

John AdamsSecond President United States of America

He was an American statesman, attorney, diplomat, writer, and Founding Father who served as the second President of the United States. He was a leader of the American Revolution and served as the first vice president of the United States.

Many of the Continental Congress and the Founding Fathers voiced their opinion on slavery including John Adams. He and especially his wife Abigail, were opposed to slavery, but it seems that his views on race were mostly in line with the times. 

Yet, he did not own slaves, his family was of modest wealth, and Adams was morally opposed to slavery and refused to employ slaves. His wife, Abigail Adams, went so far as to employ free blacks for labor as opposed to the two domestic slaves owned by her father. She also helped educate a young African American man in an evening school and their own family home while living in Philadelphia.

However, during the War of Independence, he was opposed in the use of black soldiers out of fear of losing Southern support for the Continental Army.  For John Adams, slave owner opinion seemed to nullify his approach to the subject during his political career.

Unfortunately, John Adams’ views on slavery were not so proactive. As a member of the Massachusetts State Legislature, Adams openly opposed legislation on the abolition of slavery in the state on the grounds that the issue was too conflict-ridden. He even wrote that legislation opposed to slavery should “sleep for a time” until it was less troublesome. Little did he know how many people would die settling the issue some decades into the future?

Yet, he was on the record as critical of the “privileged” Southern society whose power depended on human bondage. His slavery views became more obvious as he condemned the practice as “an evil of colossal magnitude” and worried about the effect slavery would have on the nation in the future. For him slaves were human beings and fully deserved the rights ordained by God that all men were granted.


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President George Washington on Slavery…#202

First President – George Washington

Series #1 on Presidential Slavery

George Washington’s stand on slavery was what he believed in and politically supported.   He never publicly talked against slavery, or for it. 

Washington had a strong work ethic and demanded the same from both enslaved and hired workers. He provided his slaves with basic food, clothing and somewhere to live which was not always adequate, and with medical care. In return, he expected them to work diligently from sunrise to sunset over the six-day working week. Some three-quarters of his slaves labored in the fields, while the remainder worked at the main residence as domestic servants. They supplemented their diet by hunting, trapping, and growing vegetables in their free time, and bought extra rations, clothing and house wares with income from the sale of game and produce.

His slaves built their own community around marriage and family, though because Washington allocated slaves to farms according to the demands of the business without regard for their relationships, many husbands lived separately from their wives and children on other plantations. Washington used both reward and punishment to encourage and discipline his slaves, but was constantly disappointed when they failed to meet his standards. Slaves resisted enslavement by stealing food and clothing, pretending to be ill and running away.

Washington’s first doubts about slavery were entirely economic, prompted by his transition from tobacco to grain crops which left him with a surplus of slaves. As commander-in-chief of the Continental Army in 1775, he initially refused to accept African-Americans, free or slave, into the ranks, but reversed this position due to the demands of war.

Privately, Washington considered ending his ownership of slaves in the mid-1790s, but could not realize this because of his economic dependence on them, the refusal of his family to cooperate toward emancipation of the dower slaves(slaves fathered by owners), and his own principled aversion to selling slaves like cattle.

Some of George Washington’s slaves legally became free on Jan. 1, 1801. Martha did not choose to free these people.  George Washington’s Will provide for the emancipation of his slaves, he was the only slave-owning Founding Father to do so.

Because many of his slaves were married to Martha’s dower slaves, whom he could not legally free, Washington stipulated that, with the exception of his valet William Lee, who was freed immediately, his slaves be emancipated on the death of Martha. Martha Washington freed some of the slaves in 1801, a year before her own death, but her dower slaves were passed to her grandchildren and remained in bondage.

It is not surprising as civil war loomed on the horizon, that both North and South would claim Washington as their patron of democracy. Throughout the antebellum period he was beloved by Northerners and Southerners alike and by 1861 had come to symbolize all that was virtuous and heroic about the American Revolution.

Not opinion, fact!


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The First African American March was 103 years ago…#201

After the Civil War, there was a system called Black codes, they limited the freedom of the African Americans.   Though the Union freed some 4 million slaves, the question of freed blacks’ status was still unresolved. In 1865, Lincoln proposed limiting the right to vote for African Americans that shocked many; however, his assassination days later changed the course of history.  His successor Andrew Johnson would be the one to preside over the beginning of Reconstruction.  Johnson’s Reconstruction policies were that the Confederate states were required to uphold the abolition of slavery.

The states and their ruling class that traditionally dominated were white planters and they were given a relatively free hand in rebuilding their own governments.  Former slaves fought to assert their independence and gain economic self-sufficiency during the earliest years of Reconstruction.  White landowners acted to control the labor force through a system similar to the one that had existed during slavery. They were still burdened by the color of their skin.

Mississippi and South Carolina enacted the first Black codes. Mississippi’s law required blacks to have written evidence of employment for the coming year each January; if they left before the end of the contract, they would be forced to forfeit earlier wages and were subject to arrest. In South Carolina, a law prohibited blacks from holding any occupation other than farmer or servant unless they paid an annual tax of $10 to $100.

Under Johnson’s Reconstruction, nearly all the southern states would enact their own Black. While the codes granted certain freedoms to African Americans including the right to buy and own property, marry, make contracts their primary purpose was to restrict African American labor and activity.  Anyone who broke labor contracts were subject to arrest, beating and forced labor. 

After passing the Civil Rights Act (over Johnson’s veto), Republicans in Congress effectively took control of Reconstruction. The Reconstruction Act of 1867 required southern states to ratify the 14th Amendment which granted “equal protection” of the Constitution to former slaves and enact universal male voting before they could rejoin the Union.  Still limits, males only could vote!  

After the Civil War and the Reconstruction era, white supremacy was largely restored across the South in the 1870s, and the segregationist policies known as “Jim Crow” soon became the law of the land. In 1877, when the last federal soldiers left the South and Reconstruction ended, African Americans had seen little improvement in their economic and social status.     Discrimination would continue in America with the rise of Jim Crow laws, but would inspire the Civil Rights Movement to come.

The Great Migration was the relocation of more than 6 million African Americans from the South to the cities of the North, Midwest and West in 1916.  Driven from their homes by unsatisfactory economic opportunities and harsh segregationist laws, many African Americans headed north, where they took advantage of the need for industrial workers that arose during the First World War. During the Great Migration, African Americans began to build a new place for themselves in public life, actively confronting racial prejudice as well as economic, political and social challenges to create a Black urban culture.

The Ku Klux Klan had been officially dissolved in 1869, however, the KKK continued underground after that, and intimidation, and violence even lynching of black southerners were not uncommon practices in the Jim Crow South.  With war production kicking into high gear, recruiters persuade African Americans to come north, to the dismay of white Southerners.

On Saturday, July 28, 1917, a group of between 8,000 and 10,000 African American men, women and children began marching through the streets of Manhattan in what became one of the first civil rights protests in American history 103 years ago. 

In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal provided more federal support to African Americans than at any time since Reconstruction. Even so, New Deal legislation and policies continued to allow considerable discrimination. During the mid-thirties, the NAACP launched a legal campaign against inequalities in public education. By 1936, the majority of black voters had abandoned their historic allegiance to the Republican Party and joined with labor unions, farmers, progressives, and ethnic minorities in assuring President Roosevelt’s landslide re-election. The election played a significant role in shifting the balance of power in the Democratic Party from its Southern block of white conservatives towards this new coalition.

In addition, the fight continues today…


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Calls for reparations are growing louder…#196

When the Civil War ended in 1865, the Union General William Sherman confiscated land from Southern States and mandated it be re-distributed in 40-acre plots to the freed slaves.  Thus, the term “40 acres and a mule” came to be and that mandate was never filled.   Since the freed slaves refused to join work gangs to help restore the South, most landowners divided their fields into plots and rented them out to blacks and whites alike. In exchange for use of the land, the tenant would turn a portion of their harvest over to the landowner.

The debate has raged for almost 200 years that America owes the descendants of slave’s reparation money because their ancestors were slaves.  The argument is that African-American’s built America.  This is questionable; all of American citizen’s ancestors help build America.

Ever since a Union Army general announced in Galveston, Tex., that “all slaves are free” on June 19, 1865 — a day now commemorated as Juneteenth — the question of how to compensate the country’s formerly enslaved people has hung over the United States.

Are we opening up Pandora’s Box?   A  Congressional subcommittee held a hearing on the legislation, which would develop a commission to study the long-lasting effects of slavery across generations and consider a “national apology” for the harm it has caused.

Once reparation becomes Law, will it go far beyond slavery?  With the definition of reparation being “For wrong doing”, and with all the MEGA “wrong doing” by the US government, Federal, State and Local, many will want to jump on this Bandwagon.



Offensive is out of control…#194

It would appear that our society is submitting to a spirit of offense with increasing regularity.  Many harbor bitterness and resentment, it manifest into hate, anger, intolerance, violence and yes, fear.  With all of these in place, it distorts views on truth, some become ignorant.  Ignorance produces more of the same!  Offensiveness exists but it is not necessary to pick it up and run with it.  Hate exists but we do not have to act upon it.  We do not have to assume a victim mentality, if we know the truth.  When we know the truths damaging side effects cannot touch us.  We then become part of the solution and not the problem.

Americans find many, almost everything offensive, and here are only a few researched, and the most offensive are not at the top of the list.

  1. Offering an 18-Year-Old a Drink
  2. Leaving Kids in Strollers Outside Stores
  3. Talk in the Imperative Form
  4. Saying Certain Words
  5. Not Leaving a Tip
  6. Letting your child play nude in fountains, pools.
  7. Not smiling at people
  8. Discussing salary
  9. Eating certain foods
  10. Commenting on weight
  11. Hiring someone based on looks.
  12. Standing too close to another person
  13. Topless women
  14. Staying at a restaurant visiting after finishing a meal
  15. Letting a birthday person pay for on food
  16. Waving at a waitress or waiter
  17. Slurping food
  18. Sitting through the National Anthem
  19. Putting money on counter when paying
  20. Kissing on the cheek
  21. Speaking another language in front of others
  22. Clothes-less people on TV
  23. Cursing on TV
  24. Using Metric
  25. Sitting in front of a cab
  26. Offensive nicknames
  27. Smooching in public
  28. Red light districts
  29. Staring
  30. Sharing cultural things
  31. Public baby feeding
  32. Not glorifying the military
  33. Having more than one wife
  34. Disrespecting the National flay, wearing it on clothing for example
  35. Friendly banter
  36. Not replying back
  37. No swearing, vulgar language
  38. Discuss your sex life
  39. Laughing at accents
  40. It’s offensive to make racial slurs
  41. It’s offensive to make  sexist comments
  42. Why don’t you have kids
  43. Gay relationships, which of you are the man/woman
  44. Will you tell your child he/she is adopted
  45. Death – they are in a better place
  46. I will pray for you
  47. Are you pregnant (overweight people you just met)
  48. Your just a housewife
  49. I’m not racist, but
  50. Calling someone retarded


The South was doomed…#191

Again, and again, again, again…I have to listen to how terrible the South was, is, and in these days of unrest being from the South I am labeled.  I do not know how to get people to understand that my southern ancestors were not a part of the atrocity of those long ago days.  I do have a southern accent (now in the Midwest) in some circles makes me guilty of what transpired centuries ago.  Slavery was wrong, however, my Native American ancestors were in some cases slaves too.

My father was forced to go to an Indian School; the white people looked down on him as a lesser human being.  He spent his entire life under the cloud of discrimination because his skin was not white.  I am not defending the North or the South; I am saying many judge me without the knowledge of who I am.  It appears that there are some who would have the South removed from everyone’s brains, a history “Lobotomy”. 

What I know to be the truth…

Yes, slavery was a part of the Civil War, but not the total reason.  In addition, slaves were in Eastern and Northern United States over 400 years ago. I am from Alabama and Joseph Wheeler Plantation is one of the oldest in Alabama, dating back to year only 1818. Joe Wheeler Plantation was only a few miles from where I was born; in almost a different world. Slavery was abolished in the northern states when doing so by “northern politicians” became popular and the abolitionists began attacking slavery, and of course, the southern “politicians” tried to justify the institution. 

After the War, the North ceased to think of slaves and freedmen as being serious. Many northern politicians felt that it was not necessary to start the War because the South was economicically doomed and would die a natural death within time.  The South did eventually die, without industrial means of surviving, all would eventually be lost. 

They were right, the romantic realm of the old south was soon to be gone.  Southern plantation owners had been living a dream, and eventually they were living like most southerners, poor farm hands, these people were never rich, again.  The South was finally broken. 

It was a devastating time for slaves who worked sixteen-to-eighteen-hour days, seven days a week. Sunstroke and all types of hard work killed many. The working conditions, little food and poor clothing, terrible housing, lack of freedom to move about, and susceptibility to being sold and family separated led many slaves, to become “wearisome property.”  Some tried to fight back, they were intelligent and had “leaders”.  They sabotage production, challenge overseers, fought back when provoked, ran away with hopes of being free; there was rebellion. Plantation owners were aware that the younger generation of slaves were not “natural-born” and behaved differently that the older generation. 

Slaves were required to submit to masters and respect all whites, could travel only if they had passes, they could be killed from knowing how to read or write, limited their travel activities, and they could not own or be in possession of firearms or liquor.  My question was always, if they were not human, then why were the plantation owners afraid for them to learn how to read and write? Slave patrols were a necessity for plantation owners.

The reality was that slavery often involved beating, killing, and raping, even murder, if ever, resulted in no legal prosecution of white overseers or the owners, let alone conviction or meaningful punishment.  Glorification of Southern women often took the form of harsh penalties for slaves who raped, tried to rape, or even ogled white women.  This continued in the South well into the 1950’s. In the early 1900’s they were hanged, later years if they made it to trail they were sent to the “electric chair”. Are Blacks upset and mad, hell yes they are, would we in all of our “whiteness” be mad, hell yes. There were in the South only two levels of “white”, the rich and the poor.

This brings us to this day in America.  Not all Southerners are bad, not all Law Enforcement are bad, and not all Protesters are bad.  True Southerners are not proud of their ancestors, and have paid for the actions of their southern ancestors for many generations; and I am afraid that they will continue to pay.  Honest Law Enforcement is not proud of the actions of a few, yet they are now paying for something they were not a part.  There are good, peaceful Protesters; it is our right to protest in a peaceful manner, just as we have the right to Freedom of Speech; not all Protesters loot and burn.  As Americans, we must learn the difference.


Remember these things when you go to vote…#190

The Trump administration on Friday formally rolled back an Obama-era policy that protected LGBTQ patients from discrimination and required robust language translation services, unnerving health experts who worry vulnerable populations will face further risks during the Covid-19 pandemic.  It is believed that he did this to mobilize his religious base, since he has had so much criticism over his handling of the Virus and death of George Floyd.  He reversed an Obama policy that banned health care providers from discriminating against transgender patients and women seeking abortions.  Remember this when you vote.

President Trump praised the use of tear gas and other force to disperse Minneapolis protesters, calling it a “beautiful scene” and describing the National Guard’s actions “like a knife cutting butter.”Trump praises law enforcement response in Minneapolis, says confronting bigotry will ‘go very easily’ at event in Dallas. Remember this when you vote. 

Trump also said, “I’ll never forget. You saw the scene on that road … they were lined up. Man, they just walked straight. Moreover, yes, there was some tear gas and probably some other things and the crowd dispersed. By the end of that evening, and it was a short evening, everything was fine.”  What scene was he watching, not the one I was watching.  Remember this when you vote.

President Donald Trump drew criticism for scheduling the rally on June 19, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where white mobs attacked black citizens and businesses in one of the country’s bloodiest outbreaks of racist violence.  Trump has been criticized for trying to militarize the U.S. response to the protests.  He denied that the date for the rally was on purpose, no he was thinking of the numbers of people he might bring out.  Remember this when you vote.

Now he has changed his mind, as usual and said that he is honoring the day by moving his rally to June 10, news on Trumps changes overnight…who can keep up with all the dumb things he says or does.  Think of this when you go to vote.

President Donald Trump is making sure that supporters who are set to attend his upcoming rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, understand that he is not responsible for their possible exposure to the novel Corona Virus.  Trump, cannot be held liable if anyone attending the rally contracts the Virus.   

Remember he is making sure that he is not responsible for anything, like he always does.


The WH is quiet about the spike in Covid-19…#188

Not a Happy Camper right now.

Yes, the country should open up, but with careful planning.  Many businesses are doing so, but it is the people themselves that refuse to believe they will contract the Virus.  This morning my son was laughed at for wearing a mask in a public place; he is supporting the economy by being there making purchases.  I told him to continue to walk away, silence may be golden, but it speak volumes when someone is laughing at your logic and common sense.  Therefore, we are on the rise with the Virus since America has opened up for business.

The corona virus is still killing Americans every day — but the Trump administration is not saying much about it.

“We’ve made every decision correctly,” Trump claimed. “We may have some embers or some ashes or we may have some flames coming, but we’ll put them out. We’ll stomp them out.”

Speaks without engaging brain.

Data shows that cases are rising and that we still have a pandemic.  Sighting cases of the Virus in Arizona and Kentucky has spiked after the WH recommended America open for business.  The WH is asking that we return to our health care providers for screenings (they want see you), vaccines (there are none available), care (want see you), or emergency services (call 911). 

I have learned that the Covid-19 is no longer a priority.  The Food and Drug Administration are returning to other issues like tobacco and CBD regulations.  The message given has conflicted with Trump’s vow of victory over the Corona Virus.  The message is that the battle has been won; but it is only beginning according to Dr. Fauci and the Experts.

I suspect it is going to be a “My body, my choice”.  I chose to keep a close watch on my health and surroundings, stay away from businesses, restaurants, casino’s, etc.; I order groceries, with Amazon taking care of my general shopping needs.  My family and I get together, large circle, respecting each other’s space, we have fun without “going out”.  If my family gets into a situation with strangers, they stay away from me for two weeks.  We do live in America, and these are my choices as I live in a “free country”.  Moreover, as a very dear internet friend pointed out to me, we still have freedom of speech and I need not apologize for the content of my post, even if most of it is my own opinion. 


The Gates…#187

Re-Blog…Created August 31, 2013

The Gates…

I am death, covered

by the blood of life’s

victims, the peace

loving, the innocent

and the brave silenced;

they lay with me here

in the grave.

The living stands in cold

silence, regret, moans on

every breath, living souls

that cannot keep away

the fear of death.

In the voices of life, there

could be heard prayer,

prejudice and dismay;

whether hate or fate, all is

now with me at “Heaven or

Hells” gate!