April 13, 2011
I don't completely disagree with C. Lyon's letter "Civil war wasn't all about slavery" (April 11), but I do take issue with his take on "free" blacks in America at that time. What Lyons fails to mention is that "free" blacks were nowhere near as free as their white counterparts, and that they faced constant hostility even from white Northerners, who viewed them as competition for jobs. Moreover, the hostility they faced was often violent. Even after emancipation, blacks were nowhere near to being "free" if we consider their marginalization and lack of access to the same benefits of civilization as white people; the rise of lynching by terrorist groups like the Ku Klux Klan; and the Jim Crow laws passed under the legal doctrine of "separate but equal" that further marginalized them Add to that the unfair sentencing of blacks in criminal courts and the inordinate incarceration rate of blacks in prisons.
February 7, 2010
T he newspaper ad, were it to run today, might appear in a lost-and-found column, wedged between yard sales and apartments for rent. Yet it could hardly say more about the spirit of an age. "Ran away from the Subscriber living in Annapolis, a young Country-born Negro Man named Harry," it said. "He is of a yellowish Complexion, near 6 Feet high, brisk and active. Had on and took with him a Wig, a new Felt Hat, a grey Pea Jacket, red Waistcoat and Breeches ... "Whoever takes up the said Negro, and delivers him to me, at Annapolis, shall have THREE POUNDS Reward.
April 11, 2011
I disagree with Mr. Pitts that the cause of the Civil War was all about slavery. I challenge Mr. Pitts to answer the following questions: 1. If the war was about slavery, why was West Virginia admitted to the Union in 1863 (during the War) as a slave state? 2. Why didn't slavery end when the war was over? At the conclusion of the war, slavery only ended in the 11 states that had rebelled. The other slave states, such as Maryland and Delaware, did not become free until the passing of the 13th Amendment, eight months later.
November 9, 2012
The "Making presidential elections fairer" commentary (Nov. 17) omits that the Electoral College is another legacy of slavery. The compromise of 1787, the counting of slaves as three-fifths of a person in determining the number of representatives in Congress to which a state was entitled (plus two senators), was the same formula used to construct the number of electors each state had in the Electoral College. Joseph R. Cowen, Baltimore
February 19, 2014
Maryland's Senate unanimously voted Wednesday to rescind support for a constitutional amendment it approved in 1862 to protect the institution of slavery. Amid the Civil War, Maryland was one of the few states to ratify the Corwin Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which historians considered a last-ditch effort to save the Union after the election of Abraham Lincoln. The amendment never collected enough support to pass, and has long since become a footnote in history. Maryland lawmakers did vote in 1864 to abolish slavery in the state, and approved what eventually became the 13th Amendment that outlawed slavery in the country.
October 18, 2013
In his commentary ("Beneath contempt," Oct. 17), columnist Leonard Pitts Jr. of The Miami Herald is very critical of Dr. Ben Carson's recent comparison of Obamacare to slavery. It is only natural that Mr. Pitts, being of African American ancestry, would jump to the conclusion that Dr. Carson had in mind slavery only as the keeping of slaves as practiced here in early America. I would suggest slavery has many other connotations such as "estate of subjection like that of a slave" and "compulsory service often such as required by law" (Webster's Dictionary)