Many have written and argued that Slavery
was a Sin of the South. I would argue most strongly that Slavery was NOT
a Sin of the South; It was the Sin of a Nation. Placing the Sin of
Slavery onto the doorstep of the confederacy is easy, and even
comforting, but unfortunately is not the complete picture. The simple
picture of Slavery as a Southern Sin does not reflect the much broader
participation, exploitation and profit in Slavery as an Enterprise.
Here, for your perusal and research, we
present an original 1860 news account of a captured Slave Ship. The
Slave Ship was owned by a New York Slave Trader, It was full of Native
African Men, Women, and Children, and it was delivering the Cargo to be
sold in the South.
My hope, and even my belief is, that few
today could look at these images, and read the accompanying story
without being appalled, repulsed, and even outraged.
Click on the thumbnails above. Look at
the picture of these people, created by God and in his image, packed
onto this ship like cattle. Gaze at the image, and then spend several
minutes reflecting on what it must have been like to be crammed onto a
ship so tightly that you could not lie down, so tightly that you could
hardly breathe. Think of the sounds of the dieing all around, the stench
of the diseased and deprived hanging in the air, and the utter
hopelessness of the situation.
After some time of quiet reflection, then
read the story. There are three things to look for as you read the
story; 1) Pay attention to the facts in the story describing the
conditions on a Slave Ship, and then 2) consider the overall tone and
demeanor of the news account, and note 3) that the newspaper was a
Northern Newspaper published in New York City.
The facts of the conditions on the Slave
Ship are quiet disturbing. It is an affront to all mankind that any man
would be treated this way. However, the newspaper reports it in a
light-hearted, almost whimsical fashion. The article describes the games
of a small boy, it seams to imply that the level of death and disease as
being “not as bad as usual”, perhaps even acceptable. It purports to be
able to ascertain the intelligence, and presumably the worth of these
people, by the shape of their head, and the width of their nose. When
the people appear to be praying, or praising God, the author makes the
assumption that the people could not be aware of God.
The writer, in describing this atrocity,
lacks the indignation and passion that one would think would be
associated with being an eye-witness to such a human catastrophe.
The plantation culture of the south
helped to create Demand for slaves, rich northerners were more than
happy to use their ships and wealth to Trade in Slaves for profit, and
then the popular press, potentially influenced by the wealthy who were
benefiting from the slave trade, appear to have been willing to simply
look the other way.