Blog Bonus: An App Tells Overlooked History of the Largest Slave Port | A Night at the Garden | WTH?

The Museum of Yesterday is an augmented reality app that excavates the secret histories of Rio de Janeiro, including its major role in the transatlantic slave trade.

SEE: An App Tells the Overlooked History of the Largest Slave Port in the Americas

When 20,000 American Nazis Descended Upon New York City
Oct 10, 2017 | Video by Marshall Curry

In 1939, the German American Bund organized a rally of 20,000 Nazi supporters at Madison Square Garden in New York City. When Academy Award-nominated documentarian Marshall Curry stumbled upon footage of the event in historical archives, he was flabbergasted. Together with Field of Vision, he decided to present the footage as a cautionary tale to Americans. The short film, A Night at the Garden, premieres on The Atlantic today (10-10).

“The first thing that struck me was that an event like this could happen in the heart of New York City,” Curry told The Atlantic. “Watching it felt like an episode of The Twilight Zone where history has taken a different path. But it wasn’t science fiction – it was real, historical footage. It all felt eerily familiar, given today’s political situation.”

Rather than edit the footage into a standard historical documentary with narration, Curry decided to “keep it pure, cinematic, and unmediated, as if you are there, watching, and wrestling with what you are seeing. I wanted it to be more provocative than didactic – a small history-grenade tossed into the discussion we are having about White Supremacy right now.”

“The footage is so powerful,” continued Curry, “it seems amazing that it isn’t a stock part of every high school history class. This story was likely nudged out of the canon, in part because it’s scary and embarrassing. It tells a story about our country that we’d prefer to forget.”
Author: Emily Buder SOURCE

WTH? Say what? –>  Per Eric Levitz at NYMag, “Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke says that the Trump Administration will not remove Confederate monuments from federal lands out of consideration for the feelings of ‘native Indians.’”

[More of the history we are not supposed to know, right?… It is really a big problem – all this bad history makes people confused… L/T]

Blog Bonus: Harvard Slavery, Stand For Trees, Drumpf

Harvard Law to Abandon Crest Linked to Slavery

By ANEMONA HARTOCOLLIS | The New York Times | MARCH 4, 2016

Harvard Law School is poised to abandon an 80-year-old shield based on the crest of a slaveholding family that helped endow the institution, as campuses across the country debate the use of historic names and symbols that some consider offensive.

On Friday, a law school committee said the shield did not represent Harvard values. It shows three sheaves of wheat, a symbol that is derived from the family crest of an 18th-century slave owner, Isaac Royall Jr., who endowed the first law professorship at Harvard, though the gift did not by itself create the law school. The image of the wheat appears under the word “Veritas,” or “Truth” in Latin, the Harvard motto.

Read more:


There are no passengers on Spaceship Earth. We are all crew.
— Marshall McLuhan

Stand For Trees

We are on track to lose up to 90% of the world’s rainforests by the year 2020 thanks to deforestation. It’s time we Stand For Trees before it’s too late. Purchase Stand For Trees Certificates and protect forests in need:



and we can’t forget we’re in the middle of a campaign… as if we could forget!

“Donald Trump is giving voice to a tribe of white people who felt unheard. Now that he’s helped them find their voice, I don’t think they’ll fall silent once he’s been defeated. If he is defeated….”

trump make america hate

Blog Bonus (good stuff I’m reading)

I’m adding BLOG BONUS in 2016:  a mix of good stuff I’m reading and you might want to read them too!   I know, I know, you all read way too much, but this is when you don’t have enough material… a new category Blog Bonus will be there when you need it… XOX  Lara

In the News

Remembering Slavery, Again (our national amnesia?)

by Susan Gillman | February 7th, 2016 Los Angeles Review of Books

IN 2015, A YEAR OF DEBATE over the Confederate flag and intense meditation on the meaning of race in the United States, it would be a shame to miss the equally public memories of race-slavery in Britain.  Britain’s Forgotten Slave Owners, a two-part BBC documentary, publicized the Legacies of British Slave-ownership (LBS), a University College London database of all the slave owners in Britain who were awarded compensation when slavery was abolished on August 1, 1834.  A Broadway musical, Amazing Grace, dramatized the story of the British slave-ship captain John Newton, who wrote the hymn that would become associated with African-American culture and civil rights struggles — and which President Obama sang during the eulogy for Pastor Clementa Pinckney, killed in June 2015 by a white supremacist who shot six other members of the AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. British novelist Caryl Phillips published The Lost Child, partly a prequel to Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, in which he draws on the long critical speculation that Heathcliff, brought from the slave port of Liverpool to the Yorkshire moors, is black.  It appears that both the United States and the United Kingdom are witnessing one of those moments when we confront what Toni Morrison said in an early interview about Beloved (1987), “something that the characters don’t want to remember, I don’t want to remember, black people don’t want to remember, white people don’t want to remember. I mean, it’s national amnesia.”

Read more:


Tracing Slaves to Their African Homelands

From Caribbean sugar plantations to the South Atlantic island of St. Helena, researchers are unlocking the long-kept secrets of enslaved peoples.

By Andrew Lawler| National Geographic | FEBRUARY 4, 2016

More than twelve million people crossed from Africa to the New World as slaves. Historians know a good deal about the African ports where they embarked, the slave ships that carried them across the ocean, and the destinations of these enslaved peoples.  

But they know surprisingly little about where in Africa these masses of people originally came from.  

Now, thanks to recent advances in genetic techniques, scientists are filling in this important gap in the tragic African diaspora.

“This will change our understanding of population and migration histories,” says Hannes Schroeder, a biological anthropologist at the University of Copenhagen. “What was just potential is now being fulfilled.” 

Read more:


Albany’s long, neglected history of slavery

New research, exhibit starts to tell story of centuries of bondage

By Paul Grondahl | Albany Times Union February 4, 2016

Here is a statistic that might shock you. In 1790, there were 217 households in Albany County that owned five or more slaves of African descent, a portion of the county’s 3,722 slaves, the most of any county among New York state’s 21,193 slaves counted in that year’s census.

History textbooks and conventional wisdom tend to relegate slavery as an issue of the Southern states, a shameful narrative bracketed by President Abraham Lincoln‘s Emancipation Proclamation and the grim toll of the Civil War.

But new research at the State Museum and an exhibit at Fort Crailo, a state historic site in Rensselaer, titled “A Dishonorable Trade: Human Trafficking in the Dutch Atlantic World,” is bringing slavery out of the shadows and directly onto the front stoops of Albany across three centuries.

Through historical research and archaeology, the emerging scholarship is painting a fresh portrait of a deeply ingrained system of wealthy Dutch families in Albany and the Capital Region who owned human beings and subjugated them to their will during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.

Read more:


Rest in Peace, Earth Wind Fire founding member Maurice White…Photo of Maurice White: HERE

maurice white

I’m reading the delicious scoop of amazing Ann Friedman: These are her to-read recommendations!

The UN calls for reparations.  A Michigan judge puts a violent cop in his place.  Toni Morrison’s obituary for James Baldwin.  One of the only black editors in publishing.  The DuVernay TestDidion in Los Angeles.  A Turkish American in Istanbul.  A masochistic tour of the British royal palaces. Why do so many incompetent men become leaders?  Women on the left against Hillary, fighting erasure.  How candidates devour black youth culture for political gain.  Mistaking feelings for politics.  A long-haired biker dude discovers how women are really treated.  Don’t call her “curvy.” What happens when a country where abortion is illegal tells women not to get pregnant?  A suicide pact as “a reasonable choice.”  The life-changing magic of dropping acid.  Craft vodka is a sham. America’s best gas station restaurants.  On not observing the Super Bowl.  The social networks of trees.  On writers and envy.  The predictable seduction of Nicholas SparksHandwritten letters from creative women to other women. Yes!

“The light is he, shining on you and me.” – the Earth Wind and Fire website on Maurice (top photo)

Adoption, Prison, Slavery: Oscars 2015

By Lara: I didn’t watch every minute of Sunday’s Oscars since it’s veered off from being a dignified award show to a show of egos of the Hollyweird. Last night’s shining moment was the song GLORY.

After Glory, Selma actor in tears


After receiving the Oscar for Best Song for “Glory” from Selma, John Legend gave an impassioned speech calling out the present-day state of affairs for African Americans. One line stood out: “We live in the most incarcerated country in the world. There are more black men under correctional control today than there were under slavery in 1850.”

The totals: 1.68 million black men are under correctional control in the US, not counting jails. That’s over three times as many black men as were enslaved in 1850.



In the News

 Uncomfortable Silences: Anti-Slavery, Colonialism and Imperialism

Joel Quirk | University of Witwatersrand | For Historians Against Slavery

Take up the White Man’s burden,
Send forth the best ye breed
Go bind your sons to exile,
to serve your captives’ need; To wait in heavy harness,
On fluttered folk and wild–
Your new-caught, sullen peoples, Half-devil and half-child.

Rudyard Kipling, 1899

In a major address to the United Nations General Assembly in September 2003, President George W Bush described the fight against contemporary slavery and human trafficking in the following terms:

We must show new energy in fighting back an old evil. Nearly two centuries after the abolition of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, and more than a century after slavery was officially ended in its last strongholds, the trade in human beings for any purpose must not be allowed to thrive in our time.

Few people noticed it at the time, but this statement contained a basic historical error. It has not been “more than a century” since slavery officially ended. While legal slavery in the Americas ended in the nineteenth century, in many parts of the globe legal abolition took place during the first half of the twentieth century. In the case of sub-Saharan Africa, which is my main focus here, slavery remained legal in Sudan until 1900, Kenya until 1907, Sierra Leone until 1928 and Ethiopia until 1942. This more recent history is important, because it leads to a series of uncomfortable and difficult questions about the motivations behind—and practical effects of—the anti-slavery cause, with the elephant in the room being the close relationship between anti-slavery, imperialism, and European colonialism.

Read more:


130530-buckminster-fullerBy Lara/Trace

I’m still rethinking the model of adoption!  Years ago doing research for my memoir, I spoke with a friend in Austria who told me about SOS VILLAGES. I had never heard of this or such a concept. It’s so good it has spread to the US. READ HERE

We know that in Indian Country, taking children and placing them in adoptive homes was to assimilate them, erase them from tribal rolls, an act of genocide motivated by greed and for the taking of more land. We can’t change the past in North America. It has already taken place. We are the survivors, the adoptees, left to cure ourselves but also to see to it that this doesn’t happen to more children.

In 2015, I will say this: the adoption industry is like a very large building that employs thousands (if not millions) of people — real people who collect a paycheck. They are lawyers, judges and social workers.  History shows us that children needed more than an orphange and thus began the system we have today – tiers of bureaucracy, unregulated agencies rife with corruption and kickbacks, the trafficking of children internationally to meet the supply and demand here in the US and even the black-marketing of babies. Read about one evil baby trafficker here.

We have to invent something better here in the US. We can’t change what exists. We have to replace it and make the old adoption system obsolete!

If ONE TRIBE could make this happen and do this SOS VILLAGE concept in 2015, the word would spread and children would be saved. Children would not lose their tribe, culture or language. Isn’t that the purpose and the reason for adoption – saving children’s lives?

If someone wants my help to create this new reality in Indian Country, email me.

READ THIS: The New Abolition: Ending Adoption in Our Time | Daniel Ibn Zayd | August 18th, 2012

I invoke this term fully aware of its weight as concerns the movement to abolish slavery, and to clarify this usage I define adoption as follows:

Adoption is, in and of itself, a violence based in inequality. It is candy-coated, marketed, and packaged to seemingly concern families and children, but it is an economically and politically incentivized crime. It stems culturally and historically from the “peculiar institution” of Anglo-Saxon indentured servitude and not family creation. It is not universal and is not considered valid by most communal cultures. It is a treating of symptoms and not of disease. It is a negation of families and an annihilation of communities not imbued with any notion of humanity due to the adoptive culture’s inscribed bias concerning race, class, and human relevancy.


SOS Children’s Villages – In the SOS model, children do not “age out” of care. Instead, they enter transitional programs that help young adults find housing, academic programs, and employment opportunities. Between eighty-five and one hundred percent of SOS children graduate from high school, as compared to fifty percent of foster children in other types of care. See more at:

****Aboriginal adoptees sue Ottawa for loss of culture, emotional trauma

“As an Indian, you have a spirit. That spirit has to come back home. “It’s not about the money. It’s about these kids that are dead out there.” SOURCE

In the News: THE MIX emag, Mary Beard, Storyteller Irving Howe, Richmond Slavery, Redneck Racism

Mary Beard, an intellectual genius

By Lara/Trace

If it wasn’t for the doctor’s office who had a recent issue of the New Yorker, (I borrowed it) I never would have fallen head-over-heels for (a reported intellectual genius) British Professor Mary Beard, her site TLS and her blog A DON’S LIFE (, and twitter account, which lead me to this: about starting a magazine.

See? Sometimes we are lead by visionaries and great thinkers, by the New Yorker, by chance, by synchronicity, by WAKAN TANKA (GOD).

This January, it’s time to start something fresh, new. THE MIX (web-blog – emagazine – whatever you want to call a digital magazine/blog) is that fresh egg, that mind-hatching idea for me.  We (Patricia and I and friends who blog) plan to invite writers to write about ancestry in a new way, in their own way, with a look at how “mixed” we are as humans. None better than the other.

[My opinion: Race doesn’t exist. It’s constructed by people who oppress others deliberately and subtly. We are all people of color.]

Once we see how related we are to everyone else, we have a fighting chance as humans to refresh/change/reboot the planetary awareness and change our/your/their views as humans – how we are ALL related. (The Lakota phrase MITAKUYE OYASIN speaks to this – and it is a great honor/compliment to be told “we are all related.”)

So, my friends-relatives-readers, please share this post with your circle of writer friends and let’s kick this off in a good way. Here’s to JANUARY! THE MIX!  Start writing! Email me: and let me know if you are interested in contributing. It’s open to EVERY HUMAN who can type and email!  [Future site:

In December an extended interview with Anishinabe Scholar Professor Carol Hand will run over several weeks.

I will be back in January with more about THE MIX…

Thanks for a great year, all you wonderful subscriber-readers! THANK YOU ALL!


Irving Howe, 1962 Photograph: Photo by Jose Mercado/Stanford News Service © Stanford University
Irving Howe, 1962 Photograph: Photo by Jose Mercado/Stanford News Service © Stanford University

Irving Howe, storyteller of ideas


Nina Howe, editor
Selected essays of Irving Howe
416pp. Yale University Press. £28 (US $40).
978 0 300 20366 0 |  Published: 22 October 2014

When intellectuals can do nothing else, they start a magazine”, Irving Howe quipped when explaining why he founded Dissent, the independent leftist quarterly, in 1954. The Eisenhower era was not hospitable to left-wing politics, and Howe’s phrase is often repeated at the intellectuals’ expense, as if it were a confession of their irrelevance. But that is not what Howe meant. He went on to write: “But starting a magazine is also doing something; at the very least it is thinking in common. And thinking in common can have unforeseen results”.



History Replays Today: Slavery in Richmond | November 11, 2014 

Shockoe Bottom was a center of some of the most egregious atrocities of American history, if not world history. However, the story is not discussed enough perhaps because it is not an easy topic to talk about.

Generally, the details get glossed over especially in the form of sound bites in the debates over the proposed Shockoe Stadium.

The new episode of History Replays Today, the Richmond History Podcast discusses Richmond’s slave trade with Gregg Kimball and Maurie McInnis.

Read more:

Redneck Racism: agenda to close down communities

15 Nov 14: “The Western Australian Government’s move to close down up to 150 of 274 remote communities has been labelled redneck racism. It is the ugliest act of racism to be seen in this nation in 70 years, with many fearing that it will pale the ugly racism of the Northern Territory ‘Intervention’. Elders, advocates and former politicians are warning the State Government to not close down the communities of First Peoples, that to do so will lead to a further spiral of suicides, despair, homelessness, to irreparable trust issues between First People and Governments but also to hate.” By Gerry Georgatos, a life-long human rights and social justice campaigner, a multi-award winning investigative journalist

Remember that slavery was woven into Connecticut’s fabric

Randall Beach New Haven Register 11/22/14

Ten years ago, Hartford Courant reporter Anne Farrow, acting on a tip from a friend, sat down at the Connecticut State Library and began reading three logbooks from ships that sailed out of New London in the mid-1700s.

The first ship was called the Africa. It was aptly named.

The crew was bound for West Africa to buy slaves and then sell them on England’s colonial islands in the Caribbean. Some of the “human cargo” probably stayed on board to be brought to Connecticut, where they were sold and owned by residents here.

Read more:


Museum on slave trade planned for Episcopal cathedral in Providence

Paul Davis Providence Journal November 16, 2014

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A shuttered church could soon shine a light on Rhode Island’s dark role in the slave trade.

Church leaders hope it will also help heal a divided state and nation.

The Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island wants to use part of the Cathedral of St. John for a museum that will look at those who made money in the slave trade — and those who opposed it. Churchgoers and clergymen filled both camps.

In the 18th and early 19th centuries, Rhode Islanders backed 1,000 trips between Africa and the Americas. Newport, Bristol and Providence were among the busiest slave trade ports in North America.

Read more:


“Policing Sexuality”: The Mann Act And White Slavery

 By David Martin Davies | November 26, 2014 | Texas Public Radio

 Charles Manson, Charlie Chaplin, Frank Lloyd Wright and Chuck Berry: what do these men have in common?They were all charged with violating the Mann Act, also known at the White Slavery law. The progressive era law has been on the books for over one hundred years – and was used to build the FBI – enforce a moral code against sexual deviancy and promote gender roles for women. The Mann Act was America’s first anti–sex trafficking law. It made it illegal to transport women over state lines for prostitution “or any other immoral purpose.” It was meant to protect women and girls from being seduced or sold into sexual slavery. But, as Jessica Pliley illustrates, its enforcement resulted more often in the policing of women’s sexual behavior, reflecting conservative attitudes toward women’s roles at home and their movements in public.

Listen to the program:


 Slaves Waiting for Sale

November 1, 2014 |

 In 1853, Eyre Crowe, a British artist, visited a slave auction in Richmond, Virginia. His painting of the scene was later exhibited at the Royal Gallery in London in 1861. In her new book Slaves Waiting for Sale: Abolitionist Art and the American Slave Trade, Maurie McInnis (University of Virginia) describes the impact this pivotal painting had on the British Public at the outbreak of the American Civil War. Gregg Kimball (Library of Virginia) talks about a new exhibition of art dealing with the American slave trade. Also: Jonathan White (Christopher Newport University) says many Union soldiers were not for re-election of Abraham Lincoln in 1864, and were in fact pressured to vote for him.

Listen to the program:

***** BONUS

FUCK Colonization by Frank Waln HERE

My family getting together to eat and celebrate our lives on a day that represents the genocide of our ancestors and culture is, in its own way, a “fuck you” to colonialisation. America’s colonial project failed. We’re still here, and we’re keeping our ceremonies and traditions alive. We’re still speaking our languages. We’re living our culture. I’m alive and I know what it means to be Lakota. For that, I give thanks every day.

Raise your vibration, purify, pray peace

A mural depicting Tawa, the Sun Spirit and Creator in Hopi mythology. (WIKI)

By Lara Trace

I feel like I have a hangover from bad news. Every day, every protest, every blip about climate change, every conflict killing and shifting people around the planet, every major earth change, every environmental disaster, makes me want to crawl back into bed. Instead I purify and smudge myself with sage and cedar.

I haven’t been sleeping well since Ben, my brother-in-law, died on Sept. 13. His service is planned for Oct. 14 in NYC. Then we can have some closure. Then I can sleep better.  So many people I know have lost friends and relatives recently. We are all in this together. Many souls are crossing now.

I know bad news is affecting me on many levels, hitting me at different stages. Many people like me are in the throes of grief and bitterness for the damaged environment and for the health of our planet. I know I’m more angry than sad. What we could have done 30+ years ago was thwarted by greedy oil men, bad banksters and bought politicians. Apparently they didn’t think ahead, how they live on this planet too, how their own families will suffer. (Reminds me of a story I heard that the Bush family built a compound in Paraguay, hoping they’d survive what’s coming south of the equator.)

I have never been so sure that the balance on this Mother Earth can be restored. If we humans act swiftly. The power of Big Money has influenced and corrupted too many leaders and they collectively lost their soul. To me it feels like we are on a prison planet, and we can’t stop their control over everything.

But there is always hope!

Hopi Prophecy says:

…it is imperative for us to recognize the futility of war and recognize all races and all colors are our brothers and sisters. It is also a time to bring the misuse of the technology and industrialization back into balance with nature and the earth. If we don’t do this ourselves, Martin Clashweonoma, the Hopi Prophecy Keeper, warns us that Mother Earth will do it for us. “Mother Earth will survive with or without the two-leggeds (humans).”  There are many good people out there, doing good work, praying for balance. Many “primitive” Indigenous Nations are praying for our safety as “two-leggeds” and the healing of us and the planet, like the Hopi and Zuni…. They suggest:

We can change the Earth if we can manage to rebalance our communities. We can change events on Earth by purifying ourselves. The more we purify ourselves through meditation, through forgiving others who have hurt us, by loving those who do not love us, and by seeing the God in all of nature, the more impact we will have on the planet…

Most importantly, pray that people around the world will recognize that they each hold within them the pure heart that can save us all.  What is said in Hopi prophecy is “do our prayers at home” which means to meditate and pray in God’s name, and in this way, we can raise the vibration, not only of ourselves, but of the whole planet.”


In the News

£7.5 trillion for slavery

Reparations commission says Jamaica would be due £2.3 trillion of total for Caribbean

THE National Commission on Reparations (NCR) says Jamaica would be due at least £2.3 trillion (approximately J$416.3 trillion) from any slavery reparations paid by Britain to the region.

This money would be able to pay off Jamaica’s national debt of $2 trillion and set the nation on a new economic path.

The figure was based on the NCR’s calculation of Jamaica’s 30.64 per cent of the £7.5 trillion calculated by British academic theologian, Dr Robert Beckford, as being owed by Britain to its former colonies.

Read more:


How ordinary petitions helped end slavery and make women into political activists

 By Daniel Carpenter | September 22 | Washington Post

Democracy needs activists, gadflies and, yes, “community organizers” both left and right. Ours is a democratic republic, one in which most lawmaking and policy are in the hands of elected officials. But those officials are elected or appointed by citizens, and citizens communicate actively with those who hold power. As political thinkers have known since at least the Roman Republic, however, this requires an active citizenry. Alexis DeTocqueville warned his readers about “individualism,” that “calm and considered feeling which disposes each citizen to isolate himself from the mass of his fellows and withdraw into the circle of family and friends; with this little society formed to his taste, he gladly leaves the greater society to look after itself.” If everyone isolates, if everyone is content to stay a great “family man” or “family woman,” DeTocqueville worried, then who will keep tabs on the powers that be, not least the government itself?

DeTocqueville’s worry raises another problem: If a society needs activists, whatever their political persuasion, how does it grow them? Where do they come from? It turns out that petitioning – the most common form of engagement with government at all levels in early America – was very effective at doing just this. When anti-slavery activists began to send dozens of petitions into Congress in the 1830s, they could not have predicted the immense, nationwide transformation that ensued.

Read more:


Be well everyone and pray peace…. Lara

In The News: Slavery

The Economist’s review of Edward Baptist’s book on slavery and capitalism sparks a firestorm – and a retraction

The Economist’s review of “The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism” by Edward Baptist, along with the magazine’s retraction:

And some reaction:

And a review from the Los Angeles Times:


Boston’s bright light: The African Meeting House

Trymaine Lee MSNBC September 5, 2014 (photo above)

 BOSTON — The city’s bad reputation for race relations has been well-earned. In the mid-1970s, when Massachusetts moved to desegregate its public schools through a busing program, white Bostonians erupted in violent protests and riots. The Boston Red Sox were the last major league baseball team to integrate. And Massachusetts was the first slave-holding colony in New England and played a central role in America’s early slave trade.

But there’s another side to the racial history of this much-maligned city. It played a historic role in the abolition of slavery and helped shape the lives of many of the important historical figures of the time.

Abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison founded his Liberator Newspaper in Boston which called for “the immediate and complete emancipation” of all slaves in the United States. Prince Hall, a black abolitionist, stalwart defender of equality and the father of black Freemasonry, was a pillar of Boston’s black community and used the city as a launching pad to feed the national abolitionist movement.

Read more:


Note: I’ll be back posting next week… birthday break…Lara

Abolitionist John Quincy Adams: One Man’s Obstruction of Gov’t

  • John Quincy Adams
    6th U.S. President
  • John Quincy Adams was an American statesman who served as the sixth President of the United States from 1825 to 1829. He also served as a diplomat, a United States Senator and a member of the House of Representatives. Wikipedia
Presidential term: March 4, 1825 – March 4, 1829


By Stephen Mihm

When it comes to throwing sand into the gears of the legislative process, the radicals in today’s Congress are rank amateurs. History is replete with senators and representatives who have, against all odds, forced their colleagues to revisit matters that the majority wished to avoid. Like slavery, for example.

For sheer, unrelenting doggedness and one-man obstruction of government, though, John Quincy Adams, an anti-Southern abolitionist, surely deserves the prize.

Adams is perhaps best known as the president from 1825 to 1828. By most historians’ accounts, he was a disaster in that role. After Andrew Jackson swept him from office, he dropped from public view. He resurfaced in 1830, when he ran for a Massachusetts seat in the House and won — the only former president to do so.

Although he belonged to the National Republicans, Adams remained estranged from many in his party, particularly after he clashed with its leadership. He eventually switched to the newly formed Whig Party.

Petition Flood

He joined Congress just as a small but increasingly vocal minority in the North began pressing the abolitionist cause, deluging Congress with antislavery petitions. Under House rules, these needed to be brought to the floor and “considered.” But doing so brought debate over the slavery question to the center of national politics. Southern lawmakers moved quickly to change the rules so that these petitions could be sent to die in a subcommittee without debate or discussion.

Though he was a gradual convert to the antislavery cause, Adams believed silencing debate to be unconstitutional. And he fought back. In the heated discussion over the proposed rule change, Adams at one point screamed at the House speaker, “Am I gagged, or am I not?”

His outburst gave a name to that procedural tactic: the gag procedure, or gag rule.

After the rule was adopted in 1835, Adams began a long, lonely campaign that infuriated his colleagues. As thousands of petitions flowed into Congress, Adams brought them to the floor, disingenuously asking whether they were subject to the gag rule. The sheer volume brought the legislative process to a temporary halt, even if they were immediately removed from consideration. The petitions began piling up in a 600-square-foot room designed to hold them. By 1838, they filled almost the entire room to the height of its 14-foot ceiling.

This was just the beginning of Adams’s fight. On Feb. 6, 1837, he took to the floor to present yet another petition against slavery, one that he said had been submitted by a number of slaves.

This was heresy: Slaves couldn’t petition Congress, much less request the end of slavery.

Read more here:

(Stephen Mihm, an associate professor of history at the University of Georgia, is a contributor to the Ticker. Follow him on Twitter.)

In the News: Vermont, Slavery, Haiti

Readex collection
Readex collection

What the Modern World Owes Slavery (It’s More Than Back Wages)

The Huffington Post

February 24, 2014

By Greg Grandin, Professor of History, NYU

Many in the United States were outraged by the remarks of conservative evangelical preacher Pat Robertson, who blamed Haiti’s catastrophic 2010 earthquake on Haitians for selling their souls to Satan. Bodies were still being pulled from the rubble — as many as 300,000 died — when Robertson went on TV and gave his viewing audience a little history lesson: the Haitians had been “under the heel of the French” but they “got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said, ‘We will serve you if you will get us free from the French.’ True story. And so, the devil said, ‘OK, it’s a deal.'”

A supremely callous example of right-wing idiocy? Absolutely. Yet in his own kooky way, Robertson was also onto something. Haitians did, in fact, swear a pact with the devil for their freedom. Only Beelzebub arrived smelling not of sulfur, but of Parisian cologne.

Haitian slaves began to throw off the “heel of the French” in 1791, when they rose up and, after bitter years of fighting, eventually declared themselves free. Their French masters, however, refused to accept Haitian independence. The island, after all, had been an extremely profitable sugar producer, and so Paris offered Haiti a choice: compensate slave owners for lost property — their slaves (that is, themselves) — or face its imperial wrath. The fledgling nation was forced to finance this payout with usurious loans from French banks. As late as 1940, 80% of the government budget was still going to service this debt.

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In This State: Historian finds imprecise end to slavery in Vermont

February 23, 2014

Vermonters have long prided themselves on their state’s enlightened stance on race relations. The fact that the first state constitution in 1777 prohibited slavery is often cited as evidence that Vermont led the nation in establishing universal human rights.

But a new book by a University of Vermont history professor makes it clear that Vermont should stop patting itself on the back.

“The Problem of Slavery in Early Vermont, 1777-1810” by professor Harvey Amani Whitfield challenges one of Vermont’s most firmly held myths: that slavery was ended here in 1777. The book, published by the Vermont Historical Society this month, documents the inescapable truth that racism and even slavery were much a part of this state’s formative years, and lasted well after 1777.

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South Carolina bill defines Native American tribes as clones?

Ninety-four year old Etiwan matriarch, Alica Flagler, has facial features, identical to those Creek Indians living along the Savannah River. Her skin tone is slightly darker.
January 22, 2014

Will it ever end? From the moment that Southern planters began intentionally breeding Native American slaves to African American slaves, Southern politicians fought vehemently to define any person with any African heritage as African. People who were part Native American and part European were merely defined as mixed-race trash.

However, since Paul Revere and the Raiders in the late 1960s had their big rock hit, “Cherokee People, Cherokee Nation,” it has been cool to be mixed white and Native American, especially if your great-great grandmother was a Cherokee Princess. Little did they know that the DNA that made Cherokees look like Indians was mostly Middle Eastern DNA. The new discovery has propelled many part-Cherokee members of the KKK and Patriots to psychiatric therapy.

The latest chapter in this saga, is to be exact, a proposed change to Chapter 139 of the South Carolina Code of Regulations providing for recognition of Native American Indian Groups. State Representative Liston D. Barfield of Conway, SC has introduced House Bill 4360 to the legislature. The bill orders the South Carolina Commission of Minority Affairs to cease designating “Native American Groups.” In South Carolina, if you are part European and part Native American, the state calls you a tribe. If you are mixed Native American, African and European, you are only recognized as “a group.”

The Etiwan Tribe of the Wassamasaw Indian Nation in South Carolina is quite upset about this bill. Whether they realize it or not, they are Creek Indians and share an ancient cultural tradition with Creeks elsewhere in the Southeast. Apparently, South Carolina officials don’t know what Creek Indians look like. We will tell you more about them a little later.

Chapter 139 of the South Carolina Code defines Native American Indian group as “a number of individuals assembled together, which have different characteristics, interests, and behaviors that do not denote a separate ethnic and cultural heritage today, as they once did. The group is composed of both Native American Indians and other ethnic races. They are not all related to one another by blood. A tribal council and governmental authority unique to Native American Indians govern them.”

The bill goes on to say, “Whereas, while the number of entities that may be recognized as Native American Indian Tribes is finite while recognition of Native American Indian Groups is unlimited; and whereas, by continuing to recognize Native American Indian Groups, all of which are entitled membership on the Advisory Committee of the Commission for Minority Affairs, the number of group members could easily outnumber and outvote the number of Tribe members on the Advisory Committee.”

Native Americans are all the same?

So real Injuns all have the same physical characteristics, interests and behaviors? They would have to be clones. Lovely Carrie Underwood is a BIA card-carrying citizen of the federally-recognized Muscogee-Creek Nation. Wes Studi is a card-carrying citizen of the federally recognized Cherokee Nation. Wes is a fine actor, but if Carrie looked like Wes, it is unlikely that she would be making $31 million a year as a performer. Carrie dyes her hair, by the way. Actress, Irene Bedard, does not dye her hair (or at least not blond.) She is a federally recognized Native American, but does not look like either Carrie or Wes. These three Native American celebrities had very different childhoods and live different lifestyles today.

The Wassamasaw had highfalutin ancestors. They are descended from the Itsate Creeks, who build great towns such as Okmulgee, Okute, Etowah and Copal (Track Rock Terrace Complex in the GA Mountains.)

As the primary territories of the Itsate Creeks became over-populated, individual villages or bands spread southeastward from western North Carolina and eastward from northern Georgia into present day South Carolina. In some places, they set themselves up as the elite over less sophisticated peoples. For example, the Katapa Creeks, north of present day Atlanta, established colonies in northeastern South Carolina among the Siouans there. Their descendants are known as Catawba’s today.

The ethnic name used by the province where the Wassmasaw lived, was Etawa. By the mid-1700s the population of Etawa was so depleted that the Colony of South Carolina settled the remnants on a few small reserves. These small pockets absorbed the Native American slaves, who were freed by King George I, white-Native mixed bloods and also mixed African-Native American freemen. Living on the margins of Southern plantation society, these communities maintained some Native American traditions, but would be defined today as mestizos.

Throughout many parts of South Carolina and eastern Georgia mixed blood Native Americans formed these enclaves. Since they, at least initially, owned their land, they were not subject to the laws and treaties that forced many Native Americans eventually to Oklahoma. Some communities were mixed Native and white, while others were tri-racial. There are no state-recognized tribes in South Carolina composed of pure-blood Native American clones, as suggested by the state’s laws. In general, though, the Native Americans in what South Carolina labels “groups” have much more pronounced Native American features than found in the “tribes.” Real Native Americans did not look like Hollywood Injuns.

History reality check

Southeastern Native Americans never defined ethnicity by skin color or blood quantum, until pressured to do so by Bureau of Indian Affairs officials. Tribal membership was defined by being a contributing member of a community. There are many documented cases of people of diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds rising to leadership positions of a tribe in which they were not born.

In 1710, Native American slaves composed 20% of the population of the Charlestowne Colony. Slaves of African origin composed 40% of the population, while Europeans composed 40%. Free Native Americans were not counted. Many Native American slaves escaped during the Yamasee War (1715-1717.) by 1720 65% percent of the population was enslaved. Native Americans probably represented a smaller percentage by then.

Perhaps more so than any other state in the nation, South Carolina was originally occupied by indigenous peoples of extremely diverse ethnicity. Their provinces had names originating in the Siouan, Yuchi, Shawnee, Muskogean, Itza Maya, Arawak, Carob, Tupi-Guarani, Zoque and Medieval Irish Gaelic languages. Perhaps there were even other ethnic origins. These diverse provinces were some of the most culturally advanced north of Mexico. Their capitals contained large temple mounds and plazas. The state-recognized Natchez is composed a small band of descendants, who arrived in the state in the late 1730s.

When explorer, John Lawson, paddled up South Carolina’s Santee River in 1700, he noted that virtually every village spoke a language that was mutually unintelligible to its nearest neighbors. While traveling through the northern area of South Carolina that the state now labels traditional Cherokee territory, he didn’t not mention a tribe named Cherokee or record a place name in the Cherokee language.

The first official map to list a tribe named Charakee was made by George Hunter in 1725. The portion of this tribe in South Carolina was estimated to include about 1200 people, of whom 200 were men of military age. They only lived in the extreme northwest corner of the state. The names of their towns were primarily Creek words, but also included one of each of Majorcan, Jewish and Anatolian origin. One of the very few South Carolina Cherokee chiefs with a Native American name, Wahachee, is a Creek word that means his ancestors came from the south. In contrast, at the time of European Contact (before arrival of Cherokees) the Native American population of South Carolina probably numbered at least 500,000.

The 200+ Cherokees in South Carolina, who somehow managed to survive the French and Indian War, were officially removed from the colony in 1763. There has never been a Cherokee reservation in South Carolina. The few surviving Native American words in their former territory that South Carolina textbooks ascribe to the Cherokees, such as Jocasee, Chauga, Tamasee, Keowee, Oconee and Saluda are actually standard Creek words, the mother tongue of the Wassamasaw.

There is clearly something askew in the current Native American history programs in South Carolina, which is reflected in the strange wording of House Bill 4360. The state’s websites and textbooks falsely present South Carolina’s former Cherokee occupants as its largest INDIGENOUS tribe, but barely mention the many small remnant tribes. It is quite common for residents in much of the state to claim substantial Cherokee ancestry, when they most likely carry a trace of some other tribe. The Cherokee claim is primarily made in order to infer that they have no African ancestry, unlike most of the South Carolinians with substantial indigenous DNA.

The indigenous, federally recognized Catawba, whose reservation in extreme northern South Carolina has 810 residents, is given secondary prominence in South Carolina’s educational programs. Katapa was a Creek speaking town when contacted by Juan Pardo in 1567. At some point in the late 1600s or early 1700s, it formed a confederacy of the many small ethnic groups mentioned by John Lawson. Apparently, most of these confederated provinces spoke dialects of Southern Siouan. The Catawba spoken today is a blend of those assimilated ethnic groups.

The facts of history are that none of South Carolina’s state-recognized Native American tribes OR groups functioned as sovereign governmental entities from the mid-1700s until the late 20th century. All were pushed to the margins of a Caucasian dominated plantation society. None have Native American family names. Those of predominantly Caucasian heritage often make up Hollywoodish “Indian” names like “John Dancing Bear” and Joan “Singing Dove.” All tribal and group members are mestizos. All lost their language and most of their traditions that set them apart from Europeans.

The only trait that sets the “groups” apart is skin color. The Native American communities with some African heritage have skin color much closer to their Native American ancestors. When a state law excludes those with darker skin pigment from equal participation in the services provided by the state government, it is quite probably that constitutional law is being breached.


my crazy: human trafficking, historical trauma

Historical traumaBy LARA

I have written here on this blog about my becoming Lara, integrating parts of my persona that were buried or stunted or created as an adoptee growing up with strangers.

I had posted on Facebook (as Trace) how I experienced huge chunks of CRAZY, had patterns of unhealthy behavior and even how big blocks of memory seemed hazy or gone. This does not make me any different (or better off or worse off) than others.  If I am to heal myself, I need to know and see how I coped as this little girl who lived in fear and confusion.

My thoughts now?  My crazy hazy chunks of time were in fact self-preservation – it was the only way I could handle what I had to face to avoid fracturing or destroying my delicate developing mind. (And this did happen to others living in a dysfunctional setting in childhood.) I am now aware I had various coping tools, as did my friends. One of the best tools was a vivid imagination. Another one: listening to the small voice inside, a voice of sanity and clarity. Another tool was determination. I was determined to survive and very determined to create a safe environment for myself as a young adult, when I could move physically and emotionally away from where I was raised. I was determined to open my adoption and find my relatives and my ancestry. I never lost that determination. I grew strong.

I had a conversation a few days ago with my friend and co-author Patricia [Our anthology is Two Worlds: Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects] about this process of integration, how we created little people who could handle situations, a character and persona tougher than us – and now as grown-ups, these little people are no longer needed.  I am not suggesting we had multiple personalities. That is too psycho-speak for us.  As babies and toddlers, we were confronted with strangers who called themselves our parents and they had their own instability. (Both of us had an alcoholic parent). Their imbalance caused our childhoods to be terrifying and unstable. That can put us in a situation of weakness and vulnerability. Our real fears made us very unstable and untrusting.

We chose to survive so we had to be creative in some way. Being creative is an outlet for a grief this enormous. Patricia is definitely an artist and I was a musician – and we both kept journals.

Add to that we are abandoned as infants and not nurtured and denied the bonds with our mother-creator. That also created an instability and frailty that carried forward from childhood to adulthood. This trauma is called the PRIMAL WOUND. Read Nancy Verrier if you are curious.

Remember the movie The Three Faces of Eve? Though Eve was an adult, she had created personalities who could stand-in for her. One movie that terrified me was SYBIL. Sally Fields played a child who was terribly abused and created numerous personalities who stood in for her while she underwent the abuse.  In therapy, these movie characters found out they had created stand-ins, what I call the little people. When they are no longer needed they can melt away. Or integrate back into the soul.

9781479318285_COVERSplit Feathers, what American Indians call adoptees or their lost children, have this integration challenge.  It has nothing to do with being crazy, though adoptees tell me they feel like they acted crazy in trying to deal with the strangers who raised us.  I don’t see how we could not be crazy. What other method would work? We had to be split.

Patricia and I are both Native adoptees.  We know this history now. We know it’s historical trauma in our DNA. We know we have the tools to heal this ourselves.

Even as kids we could see we were very different from our stranger parents, yet adoption forced us to pretend, be good and show we were grateful.  Isn’t that crazy?

Anyone who questions the Adoption Cartel (and their propaganda and billions in profit) will be called crazy.

What is crazy are the people who believe “adoption” works so well. How a closed adoption is good – that is crazy. Punishing a woman for having a baby while unmarried and forcing her to give up her child – that is crazy. Sealing our adoption records – that is crazy.  Giving people the idea they can buy an orphan – that is crazy. Believing an adopted child won’t want to know the truth or find their birth relatives – that is crazy.

There are couples right now holding a bake sale, asking their friends to raise money so that they can adopt an orphan. That is crazy – dangerously crazy! Read The Child Catchers if you want the truth about orphans (and how many of these children are not orphans at all but have living parents!! They are sold into adoption as a commodity.)

The fact is adoption is human trafficking.  If a child is taken from their natural parent(s) and sold to strangers, that is trafficking.  If money is exchanged for children and babies, that is trafficking. If lawyers and judges and adoption agencies charge money to handle babies for sale, they are trafficking in humans.

I do write this as a survivor of human trafficking, what was a closed adoption that I opened.  I write this from a place of sanity and balance, after years of working on myself, knowing myself, finding my relatives, and yes, learning the truth.

No, I am not crazy.

I do plan to keep blogging about HUMAN TRAFFICKING in 2014. Patricia and I are working on a new collection of adoption narratives by Native American adoptees that will be published in 2014. The new anthology CALLED HOME will also include adoptees who cannot access and open their sealed files.

Thanks for following this blog!  I’ll be back right after the holiday season! xoxox

Happy Holidays!

The Healing

My friend and co-author Patricia Busbee highly recommends this book. Great reviews on Amazon!The healingPlantation mistress Amanda Satterfield’s intense grief over losing her daughter crosses the line into madness when she takes a newborn slave child as her own and names her Granada. Troubled by his wife’s disturbing mental state and concerned about a mysterious plague that is sweeping through the plantation’s slave quarters, Master Satterfield purchases Polly Shine, a slave woman known as a healer who immediately senses a spark of the same gift in Granada. Soon, a domestic battle of wills begins, leading to a tragedy that weaves together three generations of strong Southern women.

Rich in mood and atmosphere, The Healing is a powerful, warmhearted novel about unbreakable bonds and the power of story to heal.

let us join forces to make our world slavery-free

UN Secretary-General’s Message for 2013

This year’s International Day for the Abolition of Slavery comes as the international community is intensifying efforts to eradicate poverty and forge a post-2015 development agenda.  In pursuing these goals, it is vital that we give special consideration to ending modern-day slavery and servitude which affects the poorest, most socially excluded groups – including migrants, women, discriminated ethnic groups, minorities and indigenous peoples.

There has been important progress in the last year.  A number of countries have acted to combat slavery through stronger domestic legislation and greater coordination.  More and more businesses are working to ensure their activities do not cause or contribute to contemporary forms of slavery in the workplace and their supply chains.

I strongly support these initiatives and urge all Member States to ratify the Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery, develop robust and effective domestic legislation and boost enforcement on the ground.  The partnership of the private sector in implementing these efforts is critical.

Civil society continues to play a major role in assisting victims, often with the support of the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund on Contemporary Forms of Slavery.  For more than 20 years, the Fund has helped restore human rights and dignity to tens of thousands of children, women and men.  I urge continued support for this vital initiative.

 As we mark the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, slave traders

 Ban Ki-moon

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haplotypes and migrations

Mitochondrial DNA haplotypes for dummies. | Mathilda's Anthropology Blog.

I wonder seriously about this science knowing what I know now about Human Trafficking and the Atlantic Slave Trade and migrations. I just attended a conference at Yale that discussed this intensely. One thing: Every slave ship carried Indigenous People from the Americas to Europe, Africa, France and beyond. This would skew the results of what is a European blood or DNA since mixing of people happened in the 1600s and after, which makes this science less than exact as to true origins. Consider Indigenous people populated Europe in ways most people do not consider. This was before measuring of blood. So what do we truly know about slavery and First Nations and their migrations since they were not recorded in journals as other explorers? It’s something that needs much more investigation and truth!

Who is to say that South America was developed and a civilization prior to Egypt – you’d have to read “1491” and other books about many new theories about the beginning of humans.

What was amazing to me – Native scholars are digging up records and hidden documents about colonial New England that will put most of our so-called “history” in the trash heap.

Who wrote history? The conqueror. Why write their accounts in books? Hiding the truth about conquest and Manifest Destiny and making themselves the “discoverer” which irks me to no end….Trace/Lara

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Princess Alayban to face charges of human trafficking

Dear Readers,

The case of Saudi Princess Meshael Alayban, accused of human trafficking in the U.S., has caused a stir throughout the world. But do you know how the story was uncovered?

A few weeks ago, the victim, identified as ‘Jane Doe,’ escaped Alayban’s home where she alleges she was forced to work 16 hours a day, 7 days a week; her passport held by Alayban to prevent escape. Jane Doe then flagged down a bus, explained her situation to another passenger who helped her phone police. When the police went to investigate, they found four other women at the home claiming to be in the same situation1.

Modern slavery is a crime that survives hidden from the view of the public, but occasionally, it’s there, right in front of us. It could happen overtly – a woman escaping a home in which she was trapped or a boy summoning the courage to trust a stranger – or a more subtle scene in an airport where something just doesn’t look right. The bottom line is, at any moment, a person trapped in the nightmare of modern slavery could be trying to get our attention and we all need to be ready to help.

Hours ago, Princess Alayban was supposed to face charges of human trafficking in a California court but didn’t show up. Annoyed, the judge moved her court date.
Send a message of solidarity that we all stand with the passenger on the bus who took action to protect another by ensuring millions of people know how to spot a problem AND what to do.

Are you ready to help?

Already, the media is focused on the case and its possible outcomes. But one person is getting less coverage – the passenger on the bus that connected ‘Jane Doe’ to the help she needed.

Awareness of telltale signs and potential situations of modern slavery is something everyone should have – how amazing would it be if everyone could recognise a potential case of modern slavery, and know what to do to speak up?
Click here to SHARE important tips for how to recognise a potential modern slavery problem with everyone you know on Facebook.

In the last week, Walk Free became a community of 3 million activists. If we all share this image, we have the power to reach hundreds of millions of people in all parts of the world. Imagine all those extra eyes on the job.

This is the generation we’re going to end modern slavery – once and for all.

Thank you in advance for your help,

Debra, Kate, Mich, Jess, Ryan, Amy, Nick and the Walk Free team

1 More information here:,
Walk Free is a movement of people everywhere, fighting to end one of the world’s greatest evils: Modern slavery.

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