Close your eyes. Take a deep breath in. Now imagine Jamestown, Virginia in the year 1619. What do you see? Do you see addled and apprehensive African men, women and children in an unknown land not knowing what their purpose was, or what their future had to hold? Do you see the uncertainty, terror, and despair in a young mother’s eyes as her child is ripped away from her arms? Now think of the present day America. Do you notice any similarities? Do you recall that look of terror and despair in Sean Bell’s mother’s eyes or Tamir Rice’s mother’s eyes. Sad to say not much has changed in 397 years, from 1619 to 2016.
The birth of slavery started in the one and only Africa. As the creators of civilization, and the builders of the world’s first cities, Africans have logically been the first to have a need for slaves, as a source of free labor. This idea began to spread like a virus to other parts of the world. It finally made its way to the Americas. Dutch traders were the first to bring African slaves to the Americas, only to help aid the production of lucrative crops like tobacco. The treatment of slaves was disgusting and atrocious.
Slaves were tortured, shackled, sexually assaulted and abused, mutilated, and ultimately brutalized. Enslaved African men were treated like animals. Shackles were used to bind an enslaved African’s wrist and ankles. Made of hefty iron, these shackles were not only used to restrict movement, but they were also a way for plantation owners to humiliate defiant Africans who tried to flee and to psychologically and physically control their hostages. White male plantation owners, their brothers, sons and other male associates raped African women without fe...
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...s, a century after the Emancipation Proclamation.
Modern day slavery is in full effect. However, it is no longer mutilations or being lynched it’s more like being racially profiled or being killed in cold blood and calling it self-defense. For example, Sean Bell was murdered in November 25, 2006. Sean was a 23 year- old man that was out with a few friends enjoying his last night as a single man at a Queens strip club. He was a due to be married the next day. Unfortunately, he did not make it to the alter. Sean and his companions were executed in a hail of 50 bullets, by a group of 5 police officers. A few months later, in 2007, three of those police officers were indicted. In 2008, their trial came to an end they all were acquitted. Not only did these men get away with killing an innocent man, but they also got away with ravaging a young man’s family.
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