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.
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
April 14, 2011
The adjective "all" in C. Lyon's letter "Civil War wasn't all about slavery" (April 12) raises the question of degree: How much was slavery the cause of the Civil War? But while no one can claim that slavery was the only factor in the war, slavery's role as the primary cause cannot be denied. To do so distorts and corrupts history and deemphasizes the seminal influence of black slavery on American society and politics at the time, and its legacy. That Robert E. Lee had qualms about slavery; that blacks owned black slaves; that a class-based draft led to riots in Northern cities doesn't mitigate the "peculiar institution's" central role in the violent division of the nation, they merely demonstrate the complexity of race and slavery in America at the time.
April 11, 2011
In response to Leonard Pitts, Jr.'s column ("What was Civil War about? Listen to the voices of the Confederacy," April 10), it should be noted that political motivation and post hoc justifications are often fluid, and evil, sadly, is often relative. President Lincoln famously said he didn't care about freeing the slaves, but only about saving the Union. Despite this, Mr. Lincoln well knew that the one could not be accomplished without the other. While some of the Union side harangued about the evils of slavery, they were blind to the North's complicity, exploiting slave-grown cotton for mills with dangerous machinery often operated by children, typically white European immigrants, as young as 8 laboring for 16-hours-a-day, often 7 days a week.
April 8, 2010
RICHMOND, Va. - Gov. Bob McDonnell on Wednesday conceded a "major omission" for not noting slavery in declaring April Confederate History Month in Virginia. As part of his apology, McDonnell inserted into the proclamation a paragraph condemning slavery as "evil and inhumane" and blaming it as the cause of the Civil War. In a 400-word statement his office issued, McDonnell said the failure to include a slavery reference was a mistake. On Tuesday, McDonnell said in a telephone news conference that he wasn't focused on slavery in drafting the decree but on Civil War history.
May 16, 2007
Annapolis has joined a handful of jurisdictions across the country to officially apologize for its role in the American slave trade. The City Council passed a resolution unanimously Monday, with aldermen Michael Christman and Julie Stankivic abstaining. Sponsored by aldermen Richard Israel and Sam Shropshire, the measure went through substantial revisions, with the final version, drafted by Israel, expressing "profound regret" and recommending that the last week in October be a week for studying slavery.