The link above will take you to the documentary Slavery by Another Name. Blackmon (a white man) grew up in the Mississippi Delta of the United States of America, and was a minority in his mostly black neighborhood. In a CNN interview recently, Blackmon said that as a boy, he always wondered why his black friends had so many more obstacles in life than he. He has been writing about this ever since his childhood, and is now the Atlanta Bureau Chief of the Wall Street Journal. He writes on race, the economy, and American society. This documentary is based on his gut wrenching, illuminating book about the time between our so-called “emancipation” to the beginning of World War II, when slavery, in forms unknown to most of us, existed for tens of thousands of Black Americans. It is the story of the lease (sale) of convicts for slave labor between the end of the nineteenth century well into the twentieth. These “convicts” were accused of crimes such as vagrancy when their true crime was blackness. It is the story of human beings treated as workhorses and worse, for the profit of white landowners and corporations. It is the story of the deception told: that slavery ended when it was still in full practice immeasurably compounds the horror inflicted on these human beings in Blackmon’s book.
Historical documents would have you believe that slavery ended when President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862, and a second order on January 1, 1863, indicating its application to the Confederate states. History says that slavery continued to have legal status in the US until the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment on December 18, 1865. It was December of 1865 when the 13th Amendment was passed. Blackmon’s book uncovers the lie…slavery continued long after 1865. A lie spanning seventy years. The Seventy-Year Lie.
Blackmon’s book reveals a deception of a magnitude like that of German corporations reliance on Jewish slave labor during World War II and the Swiss banks that robbed victims of the Holocaust of their fortunes. Blackmon has revealed the truth by researching personal stories of slavery through those who are still living and suffered unspeakable acts (until now) up until World War II.
A white man who cares so much for his fellows for which he grew up is in itself a unique (unfortunately) perspective. That he followed through with his book and documentary is a gift to us all, revealing the truth of our collective past. You can’t rely on the idea and common excuse that you weren’t there, therefore you should not be punished for the sins of the past…for the past…is the present. I love that the author’s name is Blackmon…you can’t make this up but if I wrote him as a character in a screenplay, I would be told that it’s too obvious to name the character Blackmon. Truth is stranger and more wonderful than fiction.
Unspeakable acts of greed and murder and enslavement under a deception of freedom: this makes me very sad and angry. I have had to stop to cry, just while writing this article. Thank you to Mr. Blackmon for this story of truth, truth shall set us free.
We have much work to do however, for seventy years of lies, so wake up and do something more than just read my blog. Come on…I dare you. I double fucking dare you.