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.
History.com 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.