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Debt and Our National Dishonor
An Honest Hand Erasing the Truth One Assumption at a Time

Lynn Lockhart

Tue, May 14, 12:46 PM

Here is a link from Wrath. It's pretty light on details and works hard to obscure the fact that non-blacks faced all the same issues.

The precarious, often predatory, world of credit in antebellum Virginia

by Joseph Mcclain, The College of William & Mary

Amanda Gibson is compiling evidence that traces today's predatory financial practices to economic victimization of free and enslaved African Americans in the pre-emancipation South.

Gibson has been researching the role of free and enslaved African Americans in the financial world of the Old Dominion of old. Her project, "Credit is Due: African Americans as Borrowers and Lenders in Antebellum Virginia," won her a two-year pre-doctoral fellowship at the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies at the University of Virginia.

She is a Ph.D. student in William & Mary's Lyon G. Tyler Department of History. Her Woodson fellowship will allow Gibson to finish her dissertation on the subject. She will receive her degree from William & Mary in 2020.

"Research shows that systemic racism limits African American's access to the financial industry today," she said. "My own research suggests that many predatory lending practices had their roots in systems in place prior to emancipation."

Gibson says the financial world of antebellum Virginia was informal by today's standards. Borrowing and repayment occurred among a network of planters, farmers and merchants who knew each other. There were formal, legally binding contracts, but she said much of the business was done with a handshake.

"One traded on one's reputation," she explained. "Manuscript sources show that most credit relationships were between people. A farmer relied on credit from the local store to buy seed or the planter he knew down the road to provide cash in the short term."

The complete article is here:

Below is a measured response.

Literacy and Legacy

The Dimly Dancing Shadows of Plantation America

In this academic article on the debt-based system of Plantation America, somehow thought to be the South, and not the entire union, no mention is made of the overwhelming facts that:

-The system that oppressed African Americans was developed on the backs of European Americans

-That European Americans were typically more harshly used than African Americans, even when they were both owned by the same master.

Here I would like to discuss the reason for this ignorance, as I have found little willful misrepresentation among 20th and 21st century academics, but rather an ignorance of the source material. The hard fact is that “black” slave narratives have been abundantly promoted and reissued ever since the 1830s whereas “white” slave narratives have been neglected, many not being available to the layman until the recent digitization of the various libraries where these books languished in the dark.

In the 1800s, the reason for willfully ignoring and re-characterizing “white” slavery as “indentured servitude” which was a post Plantation academic term applied to some dozen varieties of unfree persons, was the then new and emergent creed of Manifest Destiny, with the ruling class seeking to erase all European ethnic identity and replace it with a homogenous, American “white” identity, with the question of African American identity left to fester as an internal national sore to be used to disenfranchise working class European Americans after their fathers and grandfathers had won that “white” empire for their political and cultural masters.

There is also the question of literacy among slaves, which breaks down into four types:

-1. Literature before enslavement, such as Northup, Alsop, Hellier and Revel, with literate Europeans not targeted for enslavement post 1750, for reasons to be discussed below. This person was usually “white” or Chinese and his narrative was always co-opted by the slave-master establishment.

-2. Attained literacy as a slave, such as Williamson, Douglas and Kecley, with all of these folks being domestic “house” servants or contract wage earners for their masters and all but one of them being “black’ as the elite abolitionist class had no interest in promoting “white” working class literacy, as those folks were their cultural enemies and the negro was the elite weapon against them.

-3. Never attained literacy and had his account ghost written by elite abolitionists. This person was never “white” and possibly included Craft and Roper.

-4. Attained literacy after slavery, such as Booker T. Washington and possibly W.W. and “Box” Brown.

The question of the slave narratives and the literacy arc will be comprehensibly addressed in Volume 13 of this series.

The importance of literacy to the domestic servants of the super rich, who needed message runners, shoppers and clothier and grocery market negotiators tended to advantage them within and without slavery and before and after emancipation.

The modern mind is filled of visions of men like Washington learning to read and write in candlelit cabins during Bible study, which was thought to imbue them with a thirst for freedom, despite the overwhelming biblical support for the high moral stature of their condition. It is said that this was feared by the slave masters because the slaves would imbibe ideas of freedom from the Bible. This is given the lie so easily as to be beneath comment. What the wicked and evil slave masters were most worried about was the exposure of their crooked, “handshake” deal “honor” contracts which favored the man of substance and the literate over the man of toil and the illiterate.

Courts were available to all who could draw up legal documents and most folks represented themselves, such as the Chinese mandarins who had been promised wages as translators in London and sold instead as domestics in Virginia and Maryland. Deals might have been agreed upon by word, as declared by this academic, but they were upheld by honor [naked force] and contract in court, which could not be attended by the illiterate except as a debtor on trial to be sold for the Prosperity crime of debt.

In Plantation America, whatever your race, a man who wanted to own you could simply talk you into taking a loan which he had calculated you would not be able to pay back in 3 months and then bring charges against you in court.

As for the substance of the article, which showed a sampling of the many cases in which slaves were told they could labor for wages only to have them stolen by their master, the eminent historian misses two key aspects:

-1. When un-free skilled laborers like Frederick Douglas were rented by their master, the master charged 20% more than what would be paid a free man and had the legal right to some or all of those wages. I have previously postulated that this was a means by which the moneyed master class kept working whites from amassing enough income to start-up their own businesses and become competitors, which is likely true in the vast majority of cases. However, I suspect that the 120% of “white” wages paid to a “black” slave was inflated so that the owner could garner the “white” wage and the “black” slave be rewarded with the additional 20%.

-2. The author misses the very clear fact that slave labor as she describes it is still legal in many of the fifty states, in that parents of children under a certain age, who work for wages, have the legal right to confiscate and use those wages as the legal guardian of the child. This harkens back to the origins of slavery in Plantation America, the sale of children by parents, siblings, guardians, kidnappers and the state. [Editor note: I’m sure some child actor’s legal battle with a parent can be cited here.]

Plantation America was a total slave matrix with the focus of exploitation upon children of all races. That is the great sin of this nation, one that continues un abated as parents and educators and other kinds of mind-fuckers brainwash and even sexually maim the children under their care in service to their political and ideological ambitions.

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