|Open source from the Library of Congress|
(digital ID: npcc 02134 //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/npcc.02134)
As we are in the midst of a culture war, and depending on your location an actual "hot" war, I am inclined to issue a brief statement on behalf of Bull Run Mountain Memories.
First and foremost we are amateur historians and genealogists. But we recognize bull shit when we see it. Historical revisionism, guilt trips and other forms of ethano-masochism will never be welcomed here. History is history. Nothing more, nothing less. History doesn't give a hoot about your feelings or the social-norm-of-the-day. We will present the historical record and genealogy of our family in as complete and factual a form as the records and DNA testing allows. While we may not be particularly proud of what our ancestors did over a hundred and fifty years ago, we will not be embarrassed or deterred from our mission to tell our story. The rest is history.
Just this week a US senator from the state of Virginia stated the following:
“The first African Americans sent into the English colonies came to Point Comfort in 1619. They were slaves, they had been captured against their will, but they landed in colonies that didn’t have slavery — there were no laws about slavery in the colonies at that time,” Kaine explained. “The United States didn’t inherit slavery from anybody. We created it. It got created by the Virginia General Assembly and the legislatures of other states. It got created by the court systems in colonial America that enforced fugitive slave laws.”
Even the most basic student of world history might find that statement to be hard to believe coming from a US senator. For more detail on the actual event we see this from the Hampton city government web site:
"In late August 1619 the privateer White Lion arrived off Point Comfort near present day Fort Monroe. Aboard was a captive cargo of "..not any thing but 20. and odd Negroes, which the Governor and Cape Marchant bought for victualls…" (John Rolfe, 1619. Letter to Sir Edwin Sandys of the Royal Virginia Company). These 20 individuals were the first Africans arriving in the new Virginia colony. Their names, given by Portuguese missionaries: Antony, Isabela, William, Angela, Anthony, Frances, Margaret, Anthony, John, Edward, Anthony and others whose names are not yet known. The Virginia colony's first Africans had lived in the Ndongo Kingdom in Angola in West Central Africa on a lush, green, high plateau 150 miles from the Atlantic. The Portuguese and their mercenary allies, the Imbangala, waged war on the Ndongo kingdom, the most powerful state in the Mbundu region, to gain control of the region and provide slaves for the trade. The Angolans on the White Lion had been taken from the Spanish slave ship San Juan Bautista. The Captain of the White Lion, John Jope, traded the captured Angolans to the Virginians represented by Governor George Yeardley and his Cape Merchant Abraham Piersey. These were in turn taken into servitude in local homes and plantation."
And what better way to end this statement than with a quote from an authority that has researched this field for years, Dr. Thomas Sowell. This quote is from an article that appeared in the Dallas Morning News in 2010 but rings as true today:
"The inhumanity of human beings toward other human beings is not a new story, much less a local story. There is no need to hide it, because there are lessons we can learn from it. But there is also no need to distort it, so that sins of the whole human species around the world are presented as special defects of "our society" or the sins of a particular race. If American society and Western civilization are different from other societies and civilization, it is that they eventually turned against slavery, and stamped it out, at a time when non-Western societies around the world were still maintaining slavery and resisting Western pressures to end slavery, including in some cases armed resistance. Only the fact that the West had more firepower than others put an end to slavery in many non-Western societies during the age of Western imperialism. Yet today there are Americans who have gone to Africa to apologize for slavery - on a continent where slavery has still not been completely ended, to this very moment."