May 22, 2014

West African Officials Apologize For Role In U.S. Slave Trade

From the Chicago Tribune in 2000:
Benin Officials Apologize For Role In U.S. Slave Trade 
May 01, 2000|By From Tribune News Services. 
RICHMOND, VIRGINIA — Officials from the West African nation Benin apologized during a ceremony here for their country's role in once selling fellow Africans by the millions to white slave traders. 
The group is making several stops in Virginia and Washington, D.C., to publicize President Mathieu Kerekou's recent apologies for his country's participation in the slave trade.

"We cry for forgiveness and reconciliation," said Luc Gnacadja, minister of environment and housing for Benin. "The slave trade is a shame, and we do repent for it." 
Benin, a country of 4.7 million people, was called Dahomey in the 17th Century, when it was a major supplier of slaves for white exporters shipping from what was called the Slave Coast. Some accounts say Dahomey rounded up more than 3 million people for sale to slave traders. 
Gnacadja spoke Saturday at a James River dock where, before the Civil War, slaves were shipped into Richmond, unloaded and marched across a bridge to downtown holding pens to await auction.


Anonymous said...

"Before the Civil War..." um... wouldn't that be WAY before the Civil War, since Thomas Jefferson abolished the trans-Atlantic shipping of slaves decades before the Civil War? I apologize for noticing history.

Brah Rabbit said...

No don't throw me in the bramble patch! Oh the 5000% extra standard of living! De Sufferinks! No, anywhere but de Promised land!

Anononymous said...

Uncle Tom's Cabin, native style:
Memoirs of the Reign of Bossa Ah dee,
King of Dahomy... 1791

The king has two houses ... I observed a great number of human skulls, fixed on small stakes on the roof of it ... On each side of the door was a pile of human heads, at least fifty in each; ... a small stage about ten feet high, on which lay about two dozen heads ... , who had been sacrificed a few days before, at some of the late festivals.
seven ... men with their ankles and wrists secured ... the night preceding the next festival; when, both men and horses were to have their heads struck off
I found ... the heads of thirty-two horses and thirty-six men who had been massacred on two preceding festivals,
This is the last human sacrifice at the Customs, ... the carcase of the human victim is almost wholly devoured, as all the mob below will have a taste of it.
He had a neat detached room for sleeping in, ... and the little area within it, was paved with skulls, ... whom he had taken prisoners in the course of his wars;
a large party ... having been surprized and routed ... captives were brought to the royal encampment, and of this number no less than four hundred were instantly sacrificed.
the common men in general had from forty to fifty wives each; and their superiors from three to four hundred, and some of them even one thousand: the king himself maintained a haram of between four and five thousand.
The bulk of the people are slaves to a few freemen;

Anonymous said...

Benin, Camaroon, Nigeria, and the USA should cooperate make reparations to American slaves' descendants.

Every year they should pay the difference between the income of the privileged and wealthy median Beninite and the oppressed American blacks who suffer from the legacy of slavery and prejudice.

RonMexico said...

Walter Williams
reparations and slavery

"Reparations advocates make the foolish unchallenged pronouncement that United States became rich on the backs of free black labor. That's utter nonsense. Slavery has never had a very good record of producing wealth. Think about it. Slavery was all over the South. Buying into the reparations nonsense, you'd have to conclude that the antebellum South was rich and the slave-starved North was poor. The truth of the matter is just the opposite. In fact, the poorest states and regions of our country were places where slavery flourished: Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia while the richest states and regions were those where slavery was absent: Pennsylvania, New York and Massachusetts."

Anonymous said...

Steve, you are in serious manic mode again.

If Mrs Steve tells you to step away from the computer and go to bed, then please heed her advice.


Anonymous said...

Good, now that they've apologized let THEM pay the reparations! Actions speak louder, fellas!

Oh, TNC wouldn't like that, cause they're too piss poor and would only be able to front about 10 pesos on the dollar that the US could afford?

Anonymous said...

Importation of slaves to Virginia was mad illegal in 1778.

In 1807 Congress outlawed the importation of slaves beginning on January 1, 1808.

So a few years before the Civil War.

josh said...

Had whitey not bought them they would have been eaten at the annual custom.

Anonymous said...

The slave owners in America -- indeed, all white people -- are continually blamed for the slave trade. And now the slave-sellers in Africa have apologized too.

One group still remains to be heard from: the middlemen who transported the slaves from Africa to America. They, or rather their descendants, need to step forward and pay their reparations. C'mon guys, the world is waiting. We know you can afford it.

Jacinth said...

Sure, an apology should suffice. After all, no one from West Africa was alive when it happened, no African American was alive to be victimized by it (for several generations, so no living memory business), and African-Americans are in fact far better off for it. Why should they be culpable for anything that came of it?

Rob said...

When will white leaders apologise for what they've done to their people?

Anonymous said...

Off topic: Mark Cuban--Texas toast? Lol

Billy Beane's excellent face said...

At the time Obama's "Door of No Return" photo op in Senegal did seem a bit crass to me. Then again, this is the same who offered comment on a local arrest in Massachusetts, then got the Nobel Prize, etc.

5371 said...

Now many descendants of those who sold the slaves have moved to the US to lord it over the descendants of the slaves they sold.

apologies to Mark Krikorian said...

Mark Cuban in that prejudice spiel also stated "we have overcome xenophobia"--he ought to work on overcoming xenophilia next

TontoBubbaGoldstein said...

Hey Benin!

Talk is cheap.


Anonymous said...

Believe it or not, the Africans sold by Dahomey into slavery were the lucky ones.
Those captives not sold on were generally used as victims for human sacrifice in voudoun ceremonies.

Anononymous said...

josh said...
Had whitey not bought them they would have been eaten at the annual custom.

Had the textile mills of the North not been importing so much cotton, the South would not have been forced to buy slaves for the plantations.

Also, the Spanish were responsible for the Aztec heart-eating thing.

Anonymous said...

Oh, what Dahomey did to ma homey!

Dahinda said...

"One group still remains to be heard from: the middlemen who transported the slaves from Africa to America. They, or rather their descendants, need to step forward and pay their reparations. C'mon guys, the world is waiting. We know you can afford it."

A lot of these middlemen were New England shippers. A lot of the wealth of early New England came from the slave trade.

Chicago said...

But they didn't send any money. What good is an apology that doesn't come with a check attached? Millions are awaiting their monthly check of free money. That's in addition to the free money and subsidies already being disbursed, of course. Tally it all up and it comes out to quite a bit when one considers the extensiveness of it all. Meanwhile, don't stop working and make sure to keep paying all the various extortionate taxes. The many millions out there are depending on you to keep providing for them.

Elli said...

Re: the Walter Williams quote

The raw materials produced by the Southern plantations did contribute to the industry of the North, particularly the textile factories.

Anonymous said...

No Reparations Without Repatriations! How's that for a rallying cry?

Anononymous said...

Tsetse flies were responsible for black slavery in the Americas.

1. All the ancient world including Africa had slavery. 2. Dark-Age Europeans abolished slavery. 3. Europeans conquer most of the world, ending slavery where they do. 4. Europeans can't conquer and end slavery in Africa because of diseases such as the kind spread by Tsetse flies. 5. Being one of the last slaving cultures in the world to remain unconquered by the non-slaving Europeans, they provide the most slaves in the years 1600-1800, but not in earlier eras.

1. Before the Christian Church in Europe abolished slavery in the Dark-Ages, every culture on Earth practiced slavery (including Africa).

2. After the abolition of slavery in Christian Europe, every culture on Earth but Christian Europe practiced slavery (including Africa).

Europeans were taken in slave raids by all of its slave-owning neighbors: Vikings, Corsairs, Ottomans, Tartars, Native Americans.

3. Lands conquered by Christian Europe and ruled by them had slavery abolished by them.

Vikings were converted. Barbary Corsair activity stopped with military defeat and French Colonization of North Africa. Ottomans were driven out of Europe and were overawed militarily, and there was never a sequel to '1001 Nights'. Tartar lands were annexed by the Russian Empire, ceasing the 'harvest of the steppe'. Spanish conquered the Aztecs and abolished slave-raids for sacrifices. On Indian reservations, kidnapping neighbors and incorporating them into your tribe is not allowed.

4. Central African nations could not be completely conquered and colonized by Europeans because they lack immunity to local diseases like Tsetse fly caused sleeping sickness.

The high death rate of settlers gave Africa the moniker 'the white man's grave'. Because of this, settlement was limited to small towns and forts on the coast. Large scale settlement and control and government of the area was impossible.

5. Because Central African nations were not be conquered by Europeans, they were not able to forbid slavery there.

Outside coastal forts and towns, indigenous governments and society and culture remained independent and in its original state, uninfluenced by Europeans. This society included slavery.

6. Because there was slavery there before, and because Europeans did not forbid slavery there, then there was still slavery.

In a hypothetical where Tropical diseases are not deadly to Europeans, Central Africa is colonized and governed more completely. The indigenous slave-owning culture and government is abolished and reformed to an European model. It looks like India.

In this same hypothetical, mesoamerica has deadly diseases. Cortez dies after being bitten. Half his men become sick and are driven back to the coast because of their weakened state. The only settlement in Mexico is a fortified trading port with a high death rate from disease. The unconquered Aztecs continue to sacrifice war-captives.

Caribbean sugar plantation owners need cheap labor and are willing to buy slaves. Slavery has been abolished everywhere in the world but unconquered Mesoamerica.

An unconquered Montezuma, in a culture that has slavery, would be willing to sell some of his war-captives to the European trade-port. He could get metal items which would be very valuable to a stone-tool culture. An angry priest might turn over the slave-traders benches in a fury, because the sacrifices are sacred and belong to the Sun-god, they shouldn't be used for base commerce. With high demand for slaves, Montezuma might even increase his military campaigns to get more captives to keep up with demand. He would become very rich.

Hundreds of years later there is a movie where a boat lands on the coast and a white raiding party surrounds an Aztec village and takes its inhabitants as slaves.

Maximo Macaroni said...

I have always found it difficult to believe that "millions" were sold into slavery. Where did they all come from? Populations were just not that dense.

And, besides, what does it say about a culture that it can be so vulnerable to this predation for centuries?

Reparations should, as has been said, be limited to the difference between what those enslaved would have earned in Africa and what they and their descendants did earn and have earned since in America. Including welfare payments as "earned". Oh, and there's the little matter of the damages for a much higher rate of robbery and murder among blacks in America over centuries, compared to whites.. Collective responsibility cuts both ways. Where's our money!?

Anonymous said...

"West African Officials Apologize For Role In U.S. Slave Trade" - but not to south and central america.

Anonymous said...

"I have always found it difficult to believe that "millions" were sold into slavery. Where did they all come from? Populations were just not that dense. " - Another thing to consider is the logistics of moving those millions across the oceans, but this is over several centuries, and counts the total slave trade to all the colonies in the Americas(only a tiny sliver of that anyone actually feels guilty for). if it included what the arabs did for a millenium beforehand it could easily be in the 10s of millions.

Pat Boyle said...

Slavery of course is doing fine. Just this last week or two we have had headlines about the 200 Nigerian girls captured by Boku Haram. He has quite unashamedly announced his intention to sell them into slavery.

Last year the big surprise hit was 'Taken'. That's a story about sex slavery conducted my Eastern Europeans. There is I'm told quite a big slave trade of Ukrainian girls. I'm sure someone has posted estimates on the web of how big the flesh-sex business is today compared to the antebellum Cotton field slave business.

Nobody wants a slave these days to work in your cotton field. They'd prefer a John Deere. But sex is still sex so it's unlikely that technology alone will kill the sex slavery business as it has the field hand business.

Blacks had genetic advantages as field hands. They had resistance to malaria falciparum, yellow fever, hookworm and others. But black women are less attractive as sex slaves. This means that in the modern slavery business most of the victims are likely to be whites or possibly Asians.

Pat Boyle

Gringo said...

"I have always found it difficult to believe that "millions" were sold into slavery. Where did they all come from? Populations were just not that dense. " -

Those estimates were for slave trading spanning ~ several hundred years. That spreads the millions out quite a bit. BTW, from what I have read, slaves in the US had a much better survival rate than in Brazil or the Caribbean. Judging by the numbers of slaves transported compared to Brazil compared to the US, Brazil should have a much higher black population.

Some books of interest: White Gold: The Extraordinary Story of Thomas Pellow and Islam's One Million White Slaves. English lad captured by Muslim slavers.

Inheriting the Trade: A Northern Family Confronts Its Legacy as the Largest Slave-Trading Dynasty in U.S. History. The title says it all.

Bandeirantes were Portuguese pioneers of sorts in Brazil, whose primary occupation was raiding Indian villages for slaves. There is a big monument to the Bandeirantes/slave catchers in Sao Paulo.

Anonymous said...

Why apologize when none is demanded.

Still, more principled than African immigrants riding on the 'white guilt' gravy train.

stari_momak said...

"Oh, what Dahomey did to ma homey!"

I had to wade thru 20 comments to get the first Dahomey pun. You guys have gone down in my estimation.