Mind Spill BlogLast week I start a class a class dealing with the topic of Chattel Slavery 1444 – Present instructed by Dahia I. Shabaka (Director of Social Studies for the Detroit Public School System) at the Shrine of the Black Madonna located in Detroit. I’m taking this class because I need to know more than what I currently know which, was learned minimally from school, reading & TV.

The class so far has shed light on many things that I was not aware about slavery, as to when it started, who was all involved, lives lost etc. The class is very interactive & lively offering everyone a chance to voice their opinions, knowledge & concerns. Dahia is keeping it real with all, offering fact based accounts on what really occurred in Africa, Europe & the America’s. At the last session, we discussed the time line & myths of the slave trade, which was pretty interesting, especially when I count the fact that I thought that Europeans went to Africa, grabbed a few & the threw them on a boat, boy is it much deeper than that.

Other items I was clueless about were the fact that Native American’s were the 1st slaves until the rebelled & gave the Europeans HELL, Catholic Church involvement, portions of the Constitution that bolstered slavery & other slave laws.

My goal for this class is, a) to enlighten myself about where my people came from & how, b) teach my kids what they are not learning in school, c) share information with others whenever possible. Because I have been sharing my information & doing a knowledge exchange with Suite Suzy, she forwarded me this article that she found on CNN today which is very interesting because it is dealing with slavery in the north, which is almost unheard of.

As an extended part of this learning experience, I will be doing a trip to the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati at the end of the month with another educator who I have a tremendous amount of respect for, Diane Benton English Lecturer from Eastern Michigan University. Diane mentioned the URFC last summer while I was a student in her Afro Lit class & I wanted to go ever since, so this is going to be a great experience.

Slavery Time Line:

  • 1444 Portuguese took the 1st Africans to Portugal as slave
  • 1619 1st African comes to America
  • 1647 MA legalizes slavery
  • 1650 CT legalizes slavery
  • 1661 VA legalizes slavery
  • 1663 MD legalizes slavery
  • 1664 NY & NJ legalize slavery
  • 1682 SC legalize slavery
  • 1700 RI & PA legalize slavery
  • 1715 NC legalizes slavery
  • 1750 GA legalizes slavery
  • 1808 End of legal importation of Africans (in America)
  • 1865 Slavery ended for “all” US slaves

CNN story Snippet

    Shedding light on slavery in the north

    OYSTER BAY, New York (AP) — A group of mostly white seventh and eighth graders sleepily sauntered into their school library one recent morning, soon to get a surprise awakening about a part of their town’s history they never knew existed.

    “Did anybody in this room know there were 60 enslaved Africans, people, human beings, buried a mile from here?” Alan Singer, a professor at Hofstra University, asked them. “Those people have been erased from history. It is as if they never existed.”

    Singer and Mary Carter, a retired middle school social studies teacher, were in Oyster Bay to speak to the kids — part of a quest to develop a public school curriculum guide focusing on slavery’s impact in the northern U.S., specifically New York.

    Their efforts have been buoyed by state legislation enacted last year creating the Amistad Commission to examine whether the slave trade is being adequately taught in New York schools.

    The commission, one of a number formed around the country in recent years, is named for the slave ship Amistad, which was commandeered by slaves who eventually won their freedom in the U.S. Supreme Court.

    “Many people are surprised when you talk about slavery’s existence in New York,” Carter said. “They’re surprised because it’s taught as something that happened in the South.”

    In three separate sessions with Oyster Bay students in grades 7-12, Singer and Carter sought to impart that it is important for them to know about the role slavery played in U.S. history. They also want the students to know that racial division in the United States today “is very much a direct result of the racial divisions that come out of slavery days.”

    Read more here