Blog Post #2

From the first class, I’ve gained more interest in learning more about history. The research question that I have is why was the impact and effect of slavery sugarcoated in the educational system?

When I learned about slavery in middle school and college, there wasn’t much explained in the textbooks. It’s as if the topic of slavery was a “passing by” type of topic. Growing up, all I knew was that black people were taken from their country, turned into slaves, beaten on, and tried to escape to freedom. Not once did I learn about how beneficial slavery was to the economy, why? Why is it that textbook or lesson plans talk about the traumatic events of slavery? Is it to put fear in the minds and African-Americans? To not show their power?

When you search about the impact of slavery, there are so many sources of information that are available. There are timelines of economic growth, there were periods during this time where slavery became more of a business. Slavery became an open market. Humans were inspected like animals, bought, traded, and sold to the highest bidder. They were treated like property. states that “Slavery was so profitable, it sprouted more millionaires per capita in the Mississippi River valley than anywhere in the nation. With cash crops of tobacco, cotton, and sugar cane, America’s southern states became the economic engine of the burgeoning nation.” It became what they like to call the “economic engine” of the south.

Slavery is looked at as a “hard history”. There was a project that started in 1991 called the Teaching Tolerance Project. The purpose of this project was to appeal to states, school district leaders, and textbook-makers to stop avoiding slavery’s hard truths and lasting impact.

If I could, I would want to read writing or journals of those who were enslaved and could write. I would want to see documents tracking the financial growth of masters before and after having enslaved people. Slave masters were rich, I would just love to know exactly how rich they were.

One thought on “Blog Post #2

  1. I really appreciate the amount of work that you put into this post and sharing your personal experiences in learning the history of slavery. Your experience was one that a lot of other students shared; slavery is either brushed over, solely emphasizes the trauma (as opposed to resistance), and that it was ended by “benevolent white people.” This type of narrative is problematic, as you note, because if further erases the stories of survival, persistence, and the course to freedom that enslaved people led. I think that when we expose the truths and hidden stories of slavery, there is a way to transform the trauma into a source of healing and empowerment for communities who continue to face racism, inequality, and oppression today. Be sure to check out the sources and datasets page of the course website for some amazing sources and digital projects that center the historical voices of enslaved people!

Leave a Reply