The first recorded sale of Irish slaves in 1612 was to a settlement in South America.
The little white girl on the cover of an ACLU Tweet last Thursday looked Irish… blonde and beautiful, carrying a toy in one hand and an American flag in the other. That Tweet was quickly replaced by another of Kermit the Frog and an apology and note of thanks to those who had complained about the ACLU using the picture of a white child. “The ACLU explained that the complainers were right…. white supremacy is everywhere they said and we all need to be reminded of that.
In the interest of letting readers know part of my history that could “color” my views on race and slavery, I need to disclose some personal information. My granddaughters are half black. One has an undergraduate and a Masters Degree from Stanford, the other an undergraduate degree from the University of Southern California (USC) and is a very successful young woman (happily married) in New York City. Their parents were not rich… they worked at what can only be called middle class occupations.
My granddaughters went to university on full scholarships having to do with their grades, not their race or skin color. My oldest granddaughter was #2 in her state’s PSAT scores. The younger was offered a full scholarship to NYU as well as USC. She is a whiz in mathematics.
I also have a daughter-in-law who is Korean… her last name used to be Lee. I guess it’s a good thing she isn’t a sports announcer who was scheduled to cover the UVA game on Saturday after the Charlottesville tragedy.
Now let me continue with my story about Irish slavery.
King James the 1st ruled in England early in the 17th century and the English had a problem: The Irish people against whom Britain had been practicing genocide since the reign of Elizabeth I (who took off the head of Mary, Queen of Scots) just wouldn’t give up their “Irishness.” The English couldn’t kill all of us, though.
Genocide is defined as “intentional action to destroy a people in whole or in part.”
According to Ancestry.com’s DNA program, I am 52 percent Scot-Irish .My people were sold into slavery by the English; Africans were mostly sold into slavery by their own people but both groups were largely sold for the same reason: they disagreed with those who presided over their 16th and 17th century government swamps.
Swamps in power centers have been around forever. The politicians in Washington, D.C.’s swamp have done a better job of using psych games to hide their “swampness” than TPTB (the powers that be) of olden days. But the objectives of modern human slave traffickers appear to have similar objectives: Get rid of people who disagree with you.
We think of those called “human traffickers” as being inhuman trash who sell young women or children of both genders and all races into criminal sex rings. The women and children are slaves to those who sell sexual services of children to pedophiles and sexual services of women to those who buy sex rather than find it in meaningful relationships. If the slaves do not provide the services for which payment is made, the women and children are severely punished – or, they are killed. Nothing is more deplorable than those who partake as either providers for or buyers of human flesh. It is the inhumane – and non-human – behavior of sick people.
Queen Elizabeth and King James couldn’t kill all of the Irish who were too committed to their status as citizens of Ireland. The Irish and the Scots wanted nothing to do with the British (which made them a huge political problem). So the King and Queen either killed my people or sold them into slavery.
As News With Views Kelleigh Nelson pointed out in one of the best articles I’ve read on the broad subject of slavery and the South, from 1500 to 1870, close to 600,000 slaves were brought to America’s shores. Of the 600,000 slaves sold to Americans, about 1/3 of them were Irish. It is difficult to estimate how many blacks and how many Irish, but there are some documented examples of what the numbers might be.
For example, at the beginning of one 12-year revolt by the Irish known as the Confederation War, the Irish population was 1,466,000. It fell to 616,000 by the end of the war. Over 550,000 Irishmen were killed and a minimum of 300,000 men were sold as slaves, a majority were sold in New York, Rhode Island, Massachusetts… on America’s Northeast coast. Irish men were sold into slavery by the English and their servitude was for life. Women and children were sold for a certain period of years after which they were to be set free (if they survived).
Irishmen sold into slavery had women and children dependent on them for support. The dependents were particularly vulnerable. With their husbands and fathers sold into slavery, children were kidnapped by slavers who took them to local prisons or to workhouses where they were charged with “crimes” such as “vagrancy.” When mothers, grandparents or concerned others discovered the children had been taken and tried to get them back, the children’s captors and jailers demanded that food the children had eaten be paid for and the war weary citizenry could seldom pay the ridiculous prices charged. These children were sold into slavery and were brought to America.
The average Irish slave ship carried 300 people, but shipmasters might carry as many as 600. A Mr. Mittelberger witnessed 32 children thrown into the ocean during one voyage. A man by the name of David Sellick was to supply New England with 250 women (females above 12 years of age and under 45) and 300 men (over age 12 and no older than 45). Mr. Sellick’s firm (one of many) was responsible for shipping over 6,400 girls and boys. Only God knows how many Irish men, women and children Mr. Sellick sent to the New World as slaves. (See The Irish Slaves by Rhetta Akumatsu.) Before black people ever heard of slavery, the Vikings captured the Irish to serve as their slaves — from the 8th to the 12th century.
Being familiar with my Irish history, I get a bit tired of hearing elected black officials talk about their history of victimhood because their ancestors were brought to America as slaves. The sale of the Irish as slaves in America ended at the same time the sale of African slave sales did – though the signs in windows in from Boston to New York saying “Irish Need Not Apply” for jobs lasted far longer.
“Hypocrite” is, I believe, the appropriate term for those living on our East Coast who so like to portray themselves as too civilized to participate in something as deplorable as owning a black slave (like Southerners did). Buying Irishmen to be their slaves, however, was okay.
My Irish ancestors were still being rejected for jobs in the North long after the War Between the States was over and many blacks in the South were given land to farm. I do not suggest that this in any ways justifies what was done to blacks sold into slavery. I do suggest that history proves an effort of reparations was made to that group. None has ever been made to the Irish people stolen from their homes by royal English decree and given to human traffickers in England.
I have heard no apologies from New Englanders, New Yorkers, Rhode Islanders and other East Coast residents who enslaved over 300,000 Irish men, women and children. Yet I have seen no Irish people running to Boston to tear down statues of early American founders whose roots were English or who owned Irish slaves. I see no Irish people demanding restitution for the misery their ancestors suffered because they were sold by the English into slavery in America. I see no Irish last names of men elected to Congress demanding advantage over other people because their ancestors were sent to America as slaves.
“Well,” will say Representatives like John Lewis (D-GA) or Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), “Irish people are white. The children of Irish slaves could integrate into the white-dominated society more easily. Blacks will forever be identified as former slaves because of the color of their skin.”
That’s a good excuse, but it’s not a reason. An excuse and a reason are two totally different things.
People who use excuses rather than reasons to explain themselves are usually lying – mostly to themselves… or, in the case of politicians, to voters who need an excuse for the choices voters have made in life. If Blacks still identify themselves as offspring of former slaves 150 years after slavery ended, they need to take a lesson from other minorities. The Irish did the same thing the Italians, Hispanic, Asian, Japanese, Chinese and all other immigrant Americans did: They created their own communities, their own businesses which they supported, and as these new businesses succeeded, their children moved into society on an equal financial footing. Color had nothing to do with it. Black people have not supported their own communities.
There have been no slaves in America since 1870… that’s almost 150 years. If you calculate 30 years as representative of a generation, that’s five generations since any white, red, yellow, brown, or black person was sold as a slave in America… at least if “slave” is defined as one who is bought by one person and is sold to another.
In reality, those on welfare today are “bought and sold.” I don’t care what color you are, without your monthly government dole you would be on the street. People on Social Security (which is not welfare… Social Security is money people paid into a retirement fund which was stolen rather than invested by the United States Government) have been (unlawfully) “bought and sold.” Politicians who run for office are bought by those who contribute the largest amounts of money to their campaigns.
Perhaps someone will one day explain to all citizens – black, white, red, brown, yellow – that when you tell society that to achieve success in life – as a family, as a worker, as a business owner, as a student – you need advantages unavailable to others, you will never consider yourself or be considered by others as “equal.”
If you need an advantage over others to be equal to them, you are admitting you do not consider yourself equal. That’s simple logic. That is not to say blacks did not need civil rights legislation to gain equal access to good schools and universities. They did. They needed equal opportunity in the workplace. All minorities did. But black leaders quickly turned equal rights needs into advantage over whites.
The truth is, all disadvantaged people have benefitted by the civil rights mostly fought for by Martin Luther King, black legislators and community leaders. The truth is, once the law forced those who for one reason or another did not want to grant education and employment equality to blacks, other minorities, women, the disabled and others, all that was needed was effort by those needing the protection and enforcement of the law.
Sure. There are a few thousand white supremacists in America – former Senator Robert Byrd, a Democrat of West Virginia, is a good example. He was a lifelong member of the Ku Klux Klan until it became politically disadvantageous for him. But a few thousand white supremacists are not enough to make a dent in a national election for the Presidency of this nation. Neither can a few thousand people withhold access to being a successful, productive member of society from an entire race of people who do what is necessary to help themselves.
It’s interesting, isn’t it? We call ourselves Americans, not Irish-Americans. We do not separate ourselves from other people by hyphenating our national origin. There are a lot of Irish people whose ancestors were brought here as slaves but are now proud Americans. They love this country. It doesn’t matter how they got here.
In truth, the current “let’s tear down all of the historic figures who owned slaves” is nothing more than an attempt to tear down America’s history… to destroy us as a nation just like having open borders removes our status as a nation. It is part of the plot to establish world government.
You would think that black leaders of people who are killing one another at record rates and whose out-of-marriage birth rate is 70% might want to take a page out of the book of other people whose ancestors were brought to America against their will but who succeeded, regardless. That applies to whites as well as minorities (whose out-of-wedlock birth rate is lower than whites), but not to blacks.
That concept, however, does not fill the needs of black politicians and community leaders and organizers who are leaders in the black community. They are leading people, many of whom I dearly love, over a cliff.
© 2017 Marilyn Barnewall – All Rights Reserved
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