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Unknown and Surprising facts about Slavery

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Unknown and Surprising facts about Slavery
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  • The first official slave owner in America was an Angolan who adopted the European name of Anthony Johnson. He was sold to slave traders in 1621 by an enemy tribe in his native Africa and was registered as “Antonio, a Negro” in the official records of the Colony of Virginia. He went to work for a white farmer as an indentured servant.
  • Many slaves in America refused to eat, wanting to die rather than toil through the regime of slavery. Subsequently, owners either forced their food down their throats, broke their teeth, or shoveled hot molten lead on their heads in an attempt to make them eat food.
  • Infanticide was common among black slave women. Killing their babies, usually by one swift chop with a knife around the infant’s neck, ensured that their sons and daughters would not experience the horrors of the slave trade.
  • Eli Whitney’s invention of the cotton gin greatly increases the demand for slave labor in 1793.
  • President Lincoln issues the Emancipation Proclamation, declaring “that all persons held as slaves” within the Confederate state “are, and henceforward shall be free.”
  • The Civil War ends. Lincoln is assassinated. The Thirteenth Amendment abolishes slavery throughout the United States. On June 19 slavery in the United States effectively ended when 250,000 slaves in Texas finally received the news that the Civil War had ended two months earlier.
  • Children entered the labor force as early as 3 or 4. Some were taken into the master’s house to be servants while others were assigned to special children’s gangs called “trash gangs,” which swept yards, cleared drying cornstalks from fields, chopped cotton, carried water to field hands, weeded, picked cotton, fed work animals, and drove cows to pasture.
  • Slaves constructed more than 9,500 miles of railroad track by 1860, a third of the nation’s total and more than the mileage of Britain, France, and Germany.
  • William Whipple freed his slaves when he signed the Declaration of Independence because he believed that he could not fight for freedom and own slaves
  • U.S. President James Buchanan regularly bought slaves in Washington, D.C. and quietly freed them in Pennsylvania.
  • Harriet Tubman never lost a slave in 19 trips on the Underground Railroad. One of her secrets for not getting caught was drugging kids with opium to keep them from crying.  Harriet Tubman carried a gun with her on the Underground Railroad. If a runaway slave threatened to give up and go back to the plantation, she would point the gun at him and threaten to shoot him dead.
  • The Romans had a celebratory day once in a year where the roles of master and slave were reversed.
  • India has the largest slave population in the modern world with over 14 million slaves.
  • Benjamin Franklin attempted to abolish slavery already in 1790.
  • America’s first slave owner was a black man.
  • A Slave in America in 1850 would cost over US$12,000 in 2013 dollars.
  • Part of the White House was built by slaves.
  • The concept behind the word “cool” might come from the African word “itutu”, brought to America by slavery.
  • Mississippi didn’t ratify the 13th Amendment, abolishing slavery, until2013.
  • Slavery was abolished in Saudi Arabia and Yemen as recently as 1962.
  • Ancient Greeks and Romans often bought slaves with salt.

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History of Slavery in the United States

Brief History of United States of America