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Letter: Cruzan Rum, slavery, and corporate disclosure  

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Bombi
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November 10, 2009 11:12 am  

Shelly Morehead's letter concerning Cruzan Rum and reparations. very interesting.

http://www.caribbeannetnews.com/usvi/usvi.php?news_id=19796&start=0&category_id=19


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Michaelds9
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November 10, 2009 4:56 pm  

I think it most appropriate to it a known and unsavory part of the history.
But if reparations are a part of this where does it stop?
If compensation for past wrongs is appropriate - well my ancestors were mostly Irish and American Indian (Shawnee Tribe) and they both have been and are to this day treated shamefully too....


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li2stx
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November 10, 2009 5:27 pm  

Very thought provoking post Bombi, but I think that the best we the people can do is keep the honor alive. Compensation has never been part of the deal. Sad


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Bombi
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November 10, 2009 6:09 pm  

It doesn't seem to be about the money but respect for the past and remembering those enslaved and what they contributed. maybe repairs could include a museum or educational classes in the schools or scholarships, some thing to benefit the people and help them to be proud of their culture and perhaps an opportunity to prosper.
Sturbrige Village in Massachsetts come to mind as does old Williamsburg, Virginia.


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DUN
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November 11, 2009 12:49 am  

While I agree we must acknowledge the hard work & so on of African slaves (many of whom were SOLD to the Portuguese & Spaniards by AFRICAN chiefs)I read that 80% of Sahara Africans want to move to the US.
While the Africans here & in the US want reparations, what is the VALUE of the labor done by the slaves as does Morehead, one has to ask what is the VALUE of welfare given to the generations after them?
And, if it is so terrible here, why do so many want to come here in one of the worse economic times of our history?

Is it POSSIBLE, that (especially now) things are so much better here than there?
And if that is so, how do we, the taxpayers get payed back OUR reparations for footing the bill?
Why does`nt the African offspring seek reparations from the tribes that sold them??
Just a thought.
OK, I`m ready for the wave...


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Ms Information
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November 11, 2009 2:22 am  

As a certified 'bleeding heart liberal' and left wing wacko, I think that my perspective might be interesting. Ms Moorhead makes several interesting points, but the whole concept of making up for past wrongs just doesn't work for me. There are too many 'wrongs' and too much history to try to make everything 'right'. A sincere apology might be in order, and has been offered by most responsible people, but the idea of money or privilege changing hands is ridiculous. That would be like giving me money because my Irish great grandfather was treated badly when he first arrived in America

The people who seek repatriation are in my opinion just 'gold diggers', they are just trying to cash in on bad things that happened in the past. Let's face it, a lot of people have died and been wronged and treated badly throughout history. We all have a story. But it is just that..."history". It is time for all of us to work together today to make things better for everyone tomorrow. It is important that all of the truth is told about thoses terrible times.

I feel very bad for the terrible things that happened in the past. Some in the name of greed, some in the name of religion, some in the name of stupidity and prejudice. However, the past is gone forever.


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terry
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November 11, 2009 3:21 am  

So many people dwell on the past and will never get ahead in life because of that fact. It is easier to have their hand out then to work.

How many are SO much better off today living here because of what their ancestors endured. Not to make light of the wrongs that their ancestors endured.


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rotorhead
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November 11, 2009 4:25 am  

It is unfair to judge the past based on the political correctness of today. Slavery was legal for thousands of years, even the holy books of most religions condone slavery. If god approves of slavery how can man question it?

It should be noted that slavery has ended mainly due to western civilization. The slaves did not rise up and overthrow their masters, western civilization changed the way slavery was viewed for the first time in history and freed their slaves. Europeans did not go into the interior of Africa and hunt down the slaves and capture them, they bought them from other Africans on the coast. There is plenty of blame to go around, luckily today we have abolished slavery in most of the western world. It still happens openly in parts of Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

So how would reparations work? Do all whites owe reparations to all blacks? It would be impossible to calculate at this time since there are no slaves or slaveowners remaining, so get over it! How can a corporation which was doing nothing illegal be held responsble? I'm sorry that it happened but get over it!


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Neil
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November 11, 2009 4:44 am  

The US has already paid reparations for slavery. It was called "The Civil War."

250,000 Confederate dead, 360,000 Union dead to free 4 million slaves.

In 1879 a govt report totaled the Union's war cost at 6 billion dollars (not including war vet pensions), which adjusted for inflation would be $22 trillion in today's dollars (according to measuringworth.com). One can only imagine the cost to the south, though deservedly so.

My great-great grandfather lost part of his arm for the Union at the battle of fredrickburg and spent a year in a confederate pow camp.

The US annually spends over 400 billion dollars a year on welfare/medicaid/wic/etc. As well we should. And we continue to pay for free education, subsidized housing, etc etc. Yet as these things and history have shown, money cannot heal cultural wounds or social injustices. Yet this seems to be the clear intent of those who push the 'reparations' agenda. We'd all be better served by their attempt to EDUcate rather than reparate.


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Ronnie
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November 11, 2009 10:32 am  

If I remember correctly. The reparations group that Mr Moorhead leads is not asking for money. They want acknowledgment and some sort of help. As far as I know there have been many exchanges of Danish artisans already being done here before their call for them to share their knowledge with us. I rather doubt the Danes will say they are sorry or apologize because at that time they would be admitting being wrong, which to them was basically what was appropriate or acceptable at the time.
The business of disclosure of your past as it affects businesses wanting to do business in the islands is bull! No wonder it is just sitting on a shelf somewhere in the Legislature.


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Bombi
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November 11, 2009 11:31 am  

http://www.caribbeannetnews.com/cgi-script/csArticles/articles/000048/004802.htm

This kind of states Mr. Moreheads position.


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antiqueone
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November 11, 2009 1:31 pm  

The only way to truly heal this land is for those who are descendants of slaves to forgive in their hearts the iniquities heaped upon their ancestors. Until they do, there can be no healing. America is not for crybabies, excuse-makers, lazy, or wimps. No matter where our ancestors came from, or what they did, America is still the land of the free,(though Obama and his socialist cronies are doing their level best to take that freedom from us) It is a place where, if you study hard, use your brains, work hard, you can make anything of yourself you want to regardless of race, sex or national origin. (That does not imply that you won't come across racism, sexism or bigotry along the way, because you will)

The VI could be the same way, but too many of the descendents of slaves have been so self-centered and selfish and so busy hating or being offended by what their ancestors went through that they have stunted their growth towards freedom. They are too busy "getting for themselves", scamming and stealing from the boss or the company, resenting authority, getting on welfare or into the government that they don't have time to accomplish much of real value. They don't want to "succeed" in life, and worse, they want to hamper anyone else who tries to. They want to be equal with the rest of the world, but they want the world to give them everything instead of standing on their own two feet and earning it themselves. It is very sad to see.

Just for the record: my great grandfather was a captain in the Union Army, fought all through North Carolina and Georgia and was the one who chose which buildings to burn...all military objectives, by the way, in the sacking of Atlanta. He was shot in the head, but survived.


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stiphy
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November 11, 2009 1:45 pm  

I fail to see how the plight of my ancestor's should affect me in any way. I have ancestor's who were great men/women, ancestor's who were drunks, ancestor's who were enslaved. It makes for an interesting geneology session but that's all. I am my own man. I made my way in this world. I would encourage those who are looking for reparations to do the same.

Sean


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terry
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November 11, 2009 2:25 pm  

I think they first want an apology and when that is given THEY WILL BE STANDING THERE WITH THEIR HANDS OUT WANTING MONEY!

Get over it! Remember it so it doesn't happen again, but get over it and move on.

As far as the corporations, all (?) have changed owners, certainly Cruzan Rum.

Why, when announcing a new contract or any public announcement would you dredge up bad things from the past? Would any of the banks - stores - etc. who might have had a worker killed during a hold up in the last 100 years bring up that when having celebrations when opening a new store?? I think not, nor should they.


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GoodToGo
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November 11, 2009 4:37 pm  

While I agree with the overall tone of this reply it is not factually correct. There have in fact been violent unsuccessful and successful slave revolts in many parts of the world including right here in the Virgin Islands.

Slavery HAS NOT ended which is a travesty. There are people enslaved in many third world areas to this day. I saw a report earlier this week which claimed there's 200 MILLION people still enslaved today on this planet. I didn't do any digging on the sources but I'm suspicious of this number but if even 2 million are still enslaved we can't say slavery has ended - just that it isn't tolerated as much in Western cultures (but it clearly exists here in the form of forced sexual slavery, primarily women stolen from Asia; forced sweat shop labor, etc.)

Also, it is true that some African tribes captured others and sold them to European traders but it is also true that Europeans actively hunted African of their own accord in Africa as well as here in the Caribbean. There's many good books on the topic but some light reading is found in James Michener's 'Caribbean' which does touch on the subject in relation to Taino, Carib, and Arakwak Indians.

Regarding reparations - not going to happen and it shouldn't. If it did then yes all white people can pay all black people. Then all black people can pass the money on to Native Americans since our country was stolen from them. This of course won't happen but a form of reparations has been extended to Native Americans in the form of casino/lottery licensing, tax status, etc. While I don't support the idea of monetary reparations for black Americans I do think it might be a great idea to invest in a national heritage project where black Americans can find out where they came from, what their real last name used to be, etc. in order to build a sense of connection and identity to the cultural values of their ancestors. As it is many feel isolated and cut off from their past as a ramification of slavery which is different from EVERY ethnic group that came to this country with a connection to shared heritage (granted some felt compelled to change their names once they landed on Ellis Island but that's another thread.)

I do disagree a bit with the idea that because a corporation engaged in something that was legal during their day (e.g., slavery) that it absolves them of moral accountability particularly if they profited from the practice.

It is unfair to judge the past based on the political correctness of today. Slavery was legal for thousands of years, even the holy books of most religions condone slavery. If god approves of slavery how can man question it?

It should be noted that slavery has ended mainly due to western civilization. The slaves did not rise up and overthrow their masters, western civilization changed the way slavery was viewed for the first time in history and freed their slaves. Europeans did not go into the interior of Africa and hunt down the slaves and capture them, they bought them from other Africans on the coast. There is plenty of blame to go around, luckily today we have abolished slavery in most of the western world. It still happens openly in parts of Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

So how would reparations work? Do all whites owe reparations to all blacks? It would be impossible to calculate at this time since there are no slaves or slaveowners remaining, so get over it! How can a corporation which was doing nothing illegal be held responsble? I'm sorry that it happened but get over it!


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GoodToGo
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November 11, 2009 4:44 pm  

I think you're a bit off here DUN. Don't forget that more whites have benefited from welfare than blacks and that has always been the case. What you may have confused here is the fact that a disproportionate number of blacks have benefited from welfare over the years but in absolute numbers whites have always outnumbered blacks on the welfare roles purely because of the population advantage.

Also, in order for Africans to seek reparations from those in Africa who may have sold them, they would need to have some clue as to where they came from, what their family name was, etc. all of which was taken away by slave owners.

Also, by the way, the majority of black Americans I know haven't had any participation in reparation movements, rallies, etc. so I'm not sure it's accurate to say, "the Africans here & in the US" as opposed to say, "some Africans." Even here in STX the number of people I've seen participating in front of Government House is less than 1% of the population.

...While the Africans here & in the US want reparations, what is the VALUE of the labor done by the slaves as does Morehead, one has to ask what is the VALUE of welfare given to the generations after them?
And, if it is so terrible here, why do so many want to come here in one of the worse economic times of our history?

Is it POSSIBLE, that (especially now) things are so much better here than there?
And if that is so, how do we, the taxpayers get payed back OUR reparations for footing the bill?
Why does`nt the African offspring seek reparations from the tribes that sold them??
Just a thought.
OK, I`m ready for the wave...


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GoodToGo
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November 11, 2009 4:52 pm  

I don't believe that's accurate Neil. The Civil War was not strictly about slavery and in fact most historians agree that the Civil War had the impact of extending slavery a few years longer than it would have survived as a practice without the war (in simple terms it became too expensive a system to utilize in the South.)

I also note you connect reparations with welfare/medicaid/wic but perhaps don't realize, like others, that the majority of these recipients are white not black. Blacks do represent a disproportionate number of people on welfare and wic (I don't know abuot Medicare) by which I mean the percentage of blacks on welfare/wic is higher than the percentage of America that is black but the majority of recipients have been white for decades (I believe that will change over time as more and more minorities, primarily Hispanics, grow in population in the U.S.)

There will never be a real reparation movement in the U.S. because in the end the only logical conclusion is to pass all the money to the Native Americans.

I wholeheartedly agree education is the great equalizer and merits additional investment.

The US has already paid reparations for slavery. It was called "The Civil War."

250,000 Confederate dead, 360,000 Union dead to free 4 million slaves.

In 1879 a govt report totaled the Union's war cost at 6 billion dollars (not including war vet pensions), which adjusted for inflation would be $22 trillion in today's dollars (according to measuringworth.com). One can only imagine the cost to the south, though deservedly so.

My great-great grandfather lost part of his arm for the Union at the battle of fredrickburg and spent a year in a confederate pow camp.

The US annually spends over 400 billion dollars a year on welfare/medicaid/wic/etc. As well we should. And we continue to pay for free education, subsidized housing, etc etc. Yet as these things and history have shown, money cannot heal cultural wounds or social injustices. Yet this seems to be the clear intent of those who push the 'reparations' agenda. We'd all be better served by their attempt to EDUcate rather than reparate.


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Bombi
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November 11, 2009 4:52 pm  

good to go said (quote)
While I don't support the idea of monetary reparations for black Americans I do think it might be a great idea to invest in a national heritage project where black Americans can find out where they came from, what their real last name used to be, etc. in order to build a sense of connection and identity to the cultural values of their ancestors. As it is many feel isolated and cut off from their past

That is the kind of reparations I would support. A cultural, educational entity that could help people who's ancestors were enslaved find their roots and provide oppurtunities to their decendants.


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Lizard
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November 11, 2009 5:10 pm  

I fail to see how the plight of my ancestor's should affect me in any way. I have ancestor's who were great men/women, ancestor's who were drunks, ancestor's who were enslaved. It makes for an interesting geneology session but that's all. I am my own man. I made my way in this world. I would encourage those who are looking for reparations to do the same.

Sean

Interesting statement "I am my own man. I made my way in this world. I would encourage those who are for reparations to do the same. I notice that by virtue of your fathers military service to this country and if he joins the USAA ,that will make you eligible for membership in USAA and you will receive a large cash discount on your Auto insurance with USAA. That could be considered a current form of reparation by virtue of blood line. I also notice that today is Veterans day and no acknowledgement or thanks by you who will benefit from a Veterans organization.


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Neil
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November 11, 2009 6:06 pm  

I don't believe that's accurate Neil. The Civil War was not strictly about slavery and in fact most historians agree that the Civil War had the impact of extending slavery a few years longer than it would have survived as a practice without the war (in simple terms it became too expensive a system to utilize in the South.)

I also note you connect reparations with welfare/medicaid/wic but perhaps don't realize, like others, that the majority of these recipients are white not black. Blacks do represent a disproportionate number of people on welfare and wic (I don't know abuot Medicare) by which I mean the percentage of blacks on welfare/wic is higher than the percentage of America that is black but the majority of recipients have been white for decades (I believe that will change over time as more and more minorities, primarily Hispanics, grow in population in the U.S.)

There will never be a real reparation movement in the U.S. because in the end the only logical conclusion is to pass all the money to the Native Americans.

I wholeheartedly agree education is the great equalizer and merits additional investment.

Long complicated subject.
a few thoughts....

In all my years of reading about the Civil War, I've never read such an ascertain as you have made about the end of slavery being near.
Slavery was quite alive and well, and was threatening to spread to the new territories and states.

Regarding reparations and social programs... What is the point of reparations? Obstensively, they are to "repair" the disadvantages visited upon the descendants of the slaves. And in that respect, most of the social programs of the last 40 years have been doing that, --for blacks as well as for poor whites. Could more be done? Sure, but I believe the remaining problems are largely cultural. For example, black leaders, such as Obama, have spoken out in unison about a sub-culture which accepts single-mother families as the norm and glamorizes thuggery.

And as we learned with Welfare Reform, giving out money only perpetuates poverty, it doesn't cure it.

Regarding reparations to the Native Americans....
The difference there is that they were Federally recognized as sovereign nations with whom we signed legally binding treaties. But they are actually a good example of how money doesn't solve every problem related to the organized destruction of cultures, communities, and families.


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GoodToGo
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November 11, 2009 8:12 pm  

Yes, indeed a complicated subject but I thought I'd reply on the topic of the efficacy of slavery around the time of the Civil war. Many volumes of history have been written on this topic and I don't want to oversimplify it but essentially slavery went through phases and it had run it's course in many Southern locations purely because the land had been over-worked and there was a surplus of slaves who needed to be maintained (it in fact led to the freeing of many slaves in some specific Southern areas prior to the war.) I can send many links on this topic but here's a pretty good one to get started (read about the final 'decadent' phase of slavery): http://www.civilwarhome.com/slavery.htm

Long complicated subject.
a few thoughts....

In all my years of reading about the Civil War, I've never read such an ascertain as you have made about the end of slavery being near.
Slavery was quite alive and well, and was threatening to spread to the new territories and states.

Regarding reparations and social programs... What is the point of reparations? Obstensively, they are to "repair" the disadvantages visited upon the descendants of the slaves. And in that respect, most of the social programs of the last 40 years have been doing that, --for blacks as well as for poor whites. Could more be done? Sure, but I believe the remaining problems are largely cultural. For example, black leaders, such as Obama, have spoken out in unison about a sub-culture which accepts single-mother families as the norm and glamorizes thuggery.

And as we learned with Welfare Reform, giving out money only perpetuates poverty, it doesn't cure it.

Regarding reparations to the Native Americans....
The difference there is that they were Federally recognized as sovereign nations with whom we signed legally binding treaties. But they are actually a good example of how money doesn't solve every problem related to the organized destruction of cultures, communities, and families.


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stiphy
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November 11, 2009 9:14 pm  

Interesting statement "I am my own man. I made my way in this world. I would encourage those who are for reparations to do the same. I notice that by virtue of your fathers military service to this country and if he joins the USAA ,that will make you eligible for membership in USAA and you will receive a large cash discount on your Auto insurance with USAA. That could be considered a current form of reparation by virtue of blood line. I also notice that today is Veterans day and no acknowledgement or thanks by you who will benefit from a Veterans organization.

While I shouldn't have to I will defend myself from more of Lizard's illogical, and off topic personal attacks:

First, I'm not sure how one defines "veteran's organization" but USAA isn't a government institution, they are a business.

I am not asking for anyone to pay for my insurance, and USAA isn't "giving" people anything, they are an expanding business that has just changed their rules which allows me to join. I am not "benefiting" from them anymore than they are "benefitting" from me. They are the one who decided to make membership based on "bloodline," not I. If they want to do business with me I am open to do business with them, but I am forcing no one to do anything by joining USAA. Further, my joining USAA does nothing to harm those who cannot join.

Reparations on the other hand is someone demanding that others pay them, generally hoping to use the violent force of government to acheive that goal. When government "gives" to one group it necessarily takes from another.

So comparing doing business with someone on voluntary terms that THEY'VE made up with demanding that the government take money from others to pay for past injustices done by people totally unrelated to one's ancestor's is a HUGE logical leap. I'm fairly certain most others can see that.

Of course Lizard doesn't need logic when he's attacking me, he just enjoys attacking: invoking the "you don't support the vets card" shows the character of someone who doesn't know me at all but insists on attacking everything I write.

So post what you'd like Lizard, I will not respond as I don't need to defend myself, you do enough damage to yourself when you post.

Sean


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DUN
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November 11, 2009 11:40 pm  

Good to go,
your statement of "Also, in order for Africans to seek reparations from those in Africa who may have sold them, they would need to have some clue as to where they came from, what their family name was, etc. all of which was taken away by slave owners."
Your statement seems to leave out the fact that the tribal chiefs took them from their homes in the first place, & even reading on your post absolves them from branding or otherwise giving a mention to where they came from(wouldn`t they be the best to know since they stole & sold them in the first place???)

Richard Hufstadter wrote in America at 1750: “Africa had a system or systems of slavery long before white men came to the Guinea Coast, and had regularly enslaved war captives and criminals … Other persons sold themselves or their families for food during famine, or were kidnapped by native gangs. Many native kings ran profitable slave businesses, and responded eagerly to opportunities for greater profits. The slave trade became a recognized and entirely legal form of business in Africa.”

In different parts of Africa slavery became a major source of income for the authorities. The river ports became an efficient way to move the slaves from the main-land to the New World. Whites and Blacks cooperated in this nefarious business of selling human beings.

Also, white people didn`t START slavery, but ENDED it!


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Lizard
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November 12, 2009 12:27 am  

Hey Stephy,
I think you ought to check out "Veterans organizations" USAA is a "membership only Organization for the benefit of "Veterans" that allows family members members to join, only if the Veteran is a member. They have no stockholders and do not solicit non Veterans to join.
That's a fact! So your current status is a modern day reparation participant via Bloodline. You find it easy to cast off human suffering of others (an entire race) and find fault with their claims measured by your standards. That's sad young man very sad.


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stiphy
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November 12, 2009 12:41 am  

Yawn....

Sean


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