Slavery Was a Sin Against Humanity

by on August 8, 2023 · 6 comments

in Civil Rights, From the Soul, History

by Ernie McCray

There’s an unsound
idea going around
that slavery
benefited those held in bondage
by giving them the opportunity
to learn trades
like blacksmithing
and carpentry
and whatnot.
And in some places
there are intentions to teach this sham
about slavery being a “Job Skills Program”
to our children
when the reality is it
was at its core
and at the far ranges of its periphery
a sin against humanity,
a picture of raw brutality:
people subjected to
rape and torture and lashings
and mutilations
for reasons like going to the fields late
or working at a slow pace
or running away,
an environment wherein
loved ones could, on a whim,
based on a slave-owner’s economic needs,
be snatched away from their families
like the cotton fibers being separated from the seeds
of a day’s pickings in a cotton gin,
never to be seen or heard from again.
But there are lessons
to be learned
from this sad chapter
in American History,
stories about how,
in spite of the brutal ways
they were treated,
enslaved folks, on the whole,
didn’t let their situation destroy their souls,
as their will to survive
is something glorious to behold,
their quest to become free
sought constantly and boldly,
filled with songs
featuring calls and responses
that might include
secret messages
warning them of dangers
they might face when they rebelled
or information regarding
routes to take
to where freedom awaits,
and the spirit of those days
have been kept alive and well
for centuries
by their Black descendants
and by allies
composed of other ethnicities,
a pursuit that eternally
has faced fierce opposition.

If such truths
were revealed in our schools
with heartfelt guidance,
our children could
see the need
for their generation
to correct
the sins of our nation’s past
and continue along a path
leading to what people who were enslaved
always had in mind:
the creation
of a better more equitable life
for all our nation’s citizens.

A history, based on lies,
can’t help them
complete such a mission.

the fact that you felt compelled to write this really shows a shameful moment in our history. Who would have thought that some are defending slavery at this late date?

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Frank Gormlie August 8, 2023 at 11:00 am

The fact that Ernie felt compelled to write this really shows a shameful current moment in our history. Who would have thought that some are defending slavery at this late date and someone has to say how bad it was?

American slavery was a fascist system for African-Americans and those who want to give it one ounce of anything positive are perhaps ready to embrace fascism itself for America.


Jan Michael Sauer August 8, 2023 at 11:10 am

It still is a fascist system . The 13th Amendment LEGALIZED slavery for those convicted of crimes and has been abused ever since it was added to our Constitution. It even made The War on Drugs possible.


FrankF August 9, 2023 at 6:44 am

Headline: Slavery Was A Sin Against Humanity

Correction: Slavery Is A Sin Against Humanity

Slavery didn’t go away. Sexual slavery is a live and well with victims coming from south of the border, and illegal marijuana grows in the US are staffed with slaves and indentured servants, especially from Asia. Oh, and your fancy electric car? Cobalt used in the battery was mined by child slaves in Africa.

So are we going to hold our elected officials responsible? Probably not. We like our sins and electric cars too much.


Carrie Cecilia Peery August 9, 2023 at 6:46 pm

Thanks, Ernie my friend,
I am still shocked and amazed that there are so many ignorant people that have the nerve to put in print and expect the schools to whitewash slavery.
You have addressed the topic eloquently.
Now we need those of us that know the truth to address the need to place this awful part of our history in the United States History Books.


Thomas L Gayton August 9, 2023 at 8:08 pm



Joni Halpern August 11, 2023 at 1:21 pm

Ernie, thank you for this thoughtful piece. The generations of enslaved persons and their descendants have already improved life for the dominant culture. Their battles against profoundly unfair laws and conduct that have wounded Black people so deeply and scarred their recovery brought us a much more robust interpretation of the most democratic elements of our Bill of Rights. If it had not been for the courage of Black plaintiffs to risk life and limb to ask for justice before the nation’s courts, the rights to equal protection, due process, fair trial, and just punishment would be a shadow of what they otherwise might be, and this is true for White people as well as people of color. It is also true that systemic racism has narrowed these rights over the past 40 years, as America has resisted the deeper education we need about how slavery and the subsequent denial of decency and justice toward Black people has greatly impaired the health and strength of Black families and individuals in every respect.


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