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VMI Deletes Famous Confederate General from Cadet Life

daftandbarmy

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Hoo boy.... tough call, but the right one!


VMI Deletes Famous Confederate General from Cadet Life

The statue has been the spiritual centerpiece of the 181-year-old school, where Jackson taught physics before fighting with the Confederacy during the Civil War.

Earlier this month, the Virginia Military Institute removed the statue of General “Stonewall” Jackson following allegations from black cadets of racism at the school.

The statue, sculpted by VMI graduate Moses Ezekiel and unveiled in 1912, has long been the spiritual centerpiece of the 181-year-old school. Jackson taught physics at VMI before fighting for the Confederacy during the Civil War. The status had enjoyed a prominent home in the middle of campus in front of the student barracks. Up until a few years ago, first-year cadets were required to salute the statue when they passed by.

VMI — the nation’s oldest state-supported military college — had long resisted calls to remove Jackson from his perch.

But in late October, the institution’s board voted to remove the Stonewall Jackson statue after The Washington Post reported on students’ allegations of an “atmosphere of hostility and cultural insensitivity” at the school.

The statue had been a focus of controversy for years. Still, the school had committed to keeping it in place as recently as July 2020, when VMI’s longtime superintendent Gen. J.H. Binford Peay III said written in a statement, “We cannot eliminate our history nor do we desire to do so. Instead, we desire to build upon our past and will do our part to continue to build a strong Institute.”

Kaleb Tucker graduated from the Virginia Military Institute in May. According to a recent article, “he can’t stop thinking about the indignities he endured as a black man on the campus of the country’s oldest state-supported military college.”
Army PSYOP training course relocates

Tucker reported that it was saluting the statue that bothered him most. Despite doing away with the custom several years ago, the statue remained in place, even as other monuments of Confederate soldiers were being taken down in Virginia and elsewhere in the country.

After graduating, Tucker reportedly launched a Change.org petition requesting VMI to “acknowledge the racism and prejudice that still occurs at VMI” and to “tear down” the statue.

Stonewall Jackson is known to have been a slave owner. He is also one of the most well-known Confederate generals and even served in the U.S. Army during the Mexican-American War. Many military historians consider Jackson to be one of the most gifted tacticians in U.S. military history.

VMI’s longtime superintendent, retired Gen. J.H. Binford Peay III, was pressured to resign. Peay had defended Jackson’s statue, calling him a “military genius” and “staunch Christian.”

VMI, whose cadets had fought for the Confederacy at the Battle of New Market in 1864, now has its first-ever black leader, retired Army Maj. Gen. Cedric T. Wins, who is serving as interim superintendent following Peay’s resignation.

“VMI does not define itself by this statue, and that is why this move is appropriate,” Wins, a 1985 VMI graduate, said in a statement. “We are defined by our unique education system and the quality and character of the graduates the Institute produces. Our graduates embody the values of honor, respect, civility, self-discipline, and professionalism. This is how we will continue to be defined.”

The school said the statue would be relocated to the Virginia Museum of the Civil War at New Market Battlefield State Historical Park — owned and operated by the college — about 80 miles north of VMI’s campus in Lexington.

https://sofrep.com/news/virginia-military-institute-removes-statue-of-stonewall-jackson/?fbclid=IwAR3asjlL5md55G3MwZ6Z2Q_HPuzZL9ZyAXFlRCKP_lTDAraQ2AWMWcZ_eLc
 

FJAG

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I keep very few items of militaria around my house, but one that I bought some time ago at Gettysburg was a Mort Kunstler limited edition print of "Cross Over the River"

med_396_3.jpg


which always spoke to me on several levels.

Jackson was definitely stood on a separate level as a Civil War commander and was well worth admiring as a soldier. At the same time, I note that this statue was put up in 1912 at the height of the Jim Crow and KKK revival. It is time for it to go.

:cheers:

 

Remius

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Moving it to the museum battlefield site is far more appropriate. 
 

YZT580

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Sheer arrogance on the part of the protesters.  We should never be judging people from the past by the standards that we have established now.  A truly evil person was truly evil even in his own time and can safely be judged by the standards of that day.  For the rest, leave the portraits and statues alone to serve as reminders of both the good and the bad.  Or, as an alternative, remove all statues, portraits etc. on the 100th or 150th anniversary of their deaths and put them in the basement regardless and by so doing declare that they are no longer relevant to this age's society.
 

Remius

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YZT580 said:
Sheer arrogance on the part of the protesters.  We should never be judging people from the past by the standards that we have established now.  A truly evil person was truly evil even in his own time and can safely be judged by the standards of that day.  For the rest, leave the portraits and statues alone to serve as reminders of both the good and the bad.  Or, as an alternative, remove all statues, portraits etc. on the 100th or 150th anniversary of their deaths and put them in the basement regardless and by so doing declare that they are no longer relevant to this age's society.

Until recently they were still saluting it...

They are moving it to a more appropriate venue.  In the right context. 
 

Navy_Pete

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YZT580 said:
Sheer arrogance on the part of the protesters.  We should never be judging people from the past by the standards that we have established now.  A truly evil person was truly evil even in his own time and can safely be judged by the standards of that day.  For the rest, leave the portraits and statues alone to serve as reminders of both the good and the bad.  Or, as an alternative, remove all statues, portraits etc. on the 100th or 150th anniversary of their deaths and put them in the basement regardless and by so doing declare that they are no longer relevant to this age's society.

For context most of these statues were deliberately put up during the Jim Crow era as part of a campaign to continue to suppress the black population by reminders of the civil war and the era of slavery. Bit different than normal commemorative statues of historical figures.

Generally speaking though pretty weird concept to have statues of generals that were effectively traitors against the country.
 

mariomike

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Navy_Pete said:
Generally speaking though pretty weird concept to have statues of generals that were effectively traitors against the country.

These threads about the Confederate flag, and statues of Confederate generals, remind me a little bit of something I once read,

Trying to imagine a version of WW2 where the Nazis just get pushed into Bavaria and surrender, but keep the swastika on the state flag, slap it on their cars and say stuff like ‘The Third Reich is my heritage.’
https://twitter.com/Dan_Arrows/status/1271930406452035584

After World War 2, all symbols of Nazism  were ordered removed in Germany.

German war cemeteries were / are places of honour, and respected as such.

For whatever reason(s), a similar idea did not seem to meet with as much enthusiasm after the American Civil War.





 

Navy_Pete

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In kind of a related note, there is the Langemark German war cemetery in Belgium from WWI near Ypres. It includes a mass grave for nearly 25k, a memorial with a lot of names, and individual graves (all in some kind of black stone).

It's really quite different from any of the ally cemeteries and memorials in the area, but still well maintained. It was an interesting demonstration of respect for the dead who were buried in a country they invaded.

None of the photos do it justice, but dropped the wiki link below. Worth a visit if you are in the area, but thought it was a good way to remember the dead (of this particularly senseless war and all the casualties) without in any way glorifying their cause.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Langemark_German_war_cemetery
 

Blackadder1916

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Navy_Pete said:
It's really quite different from any of the ally cemeteries and memorials in the area, but still well maintained. It was an interesting demonstration of respect for the dead who were buried in a country they invaded.

While reciprocal respect for the war dead of an enemy may have been a spontaneous kindness, it was formalized (in law) in the Treaty of Versailles with these articles.

SECTION II.

GRAVES.

ARTICLE 225.

The Allied and Associated Governments and the German Government will cause to be respected and maintained the graves of the soldiers and sailors buried in their respective territories.

They agree to recognise any Commission appointed by an Allied or Associated Government for the purpose of identifying, registering, caring for or erecting suitable memorials over the said graves and to facilitate the discharge of its duties.

Furthermore they agree to afford, so far as the provisions of their laws and the requirements of public health allow, every facility for giving effect to requests that the bodies of their soldiers and sailors may be transferred to their own country.

ARTICLE 226.

The graves of prisoners of war and interned civilians who are nationals of the different belligerent States and have died in captivity shall be properly maintained in accordance with Article 225 of the present Treaty.

The Allied and Associated Governments on the one part and the German Government on the other part reciprocally undertake also to furnish to each other:

(1) A complete list of those who have died, together with all information useful for identification;

(2) All information as to the number and position of the graves of all those who have been buried without identification.

And like the CWGC, Germany also has a similar organization that provides for the care of their war cemeteries.  https://www.volksbund.de/en/volksbund.html
 

mariomike

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The Allied and Associated Governments and the German Government will cause to be respected and maintained the graves of the soldiers and sailors buried in their respective territories.

Interestingly, General Crerar, commander of Canadian forces in Europe, gave the order that no Canadian dead should be buried in German soil. There is one Canadian soldier who lies in the Reichwald Forest War Cemetery in Germany, along with many RCAF Bomber Command airmen.


 

daftandbarmy

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mariomike said:
These threads about the Confederate flag, and statues of Confederate generals, remind me a little bit of something I once read,

After World War 2, all symbols of Nazism  were ordered removed in Germany.

German war cemeteries were / are places of honour, and respected as such.

For whatever reason(s), a similar idea did not seem to meet with as much enthusiasm after the American Civil War.

More proof that 'Civil War' is an oxymoron. There's o alot of residual bitterness that doesn't always feature in other types of, usually international, conflicts.
 

YZT580

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So who do you get rid of next?  George Washington or maybe Benjamin Franklin.  Both were slave owners.  Better re-name Washington city or state.  Get rid of most of the founding fathers perhaps.  Owning slaves was the nature of things prior to Abraham Lincoln.  Jackson himself didn't like the concept but he used the argument that there was no law against it either civil or religious; as many others did at that time.  He fought for the south because of his beliefs in state rights and not to protect the concept of owning others and because he was an officer in the Virginia guard.  His statue was a result of his being an instructor at VMI as well as one of their alumni at the time the war broke out.  From what I can gather he was as much an American patriot as Ulysses Grant: just on the wrong side at the end. He established a school for African-americans at a time when it was against the law in Virginia, risked imprisonment because of it and considered them as equal to himself as humans: something many in the north refused to do.  He purchased several slaves at their own request to prevent their being sold south.  He even established a sunday school for his own slaves and taught it faithfully.  He was a brilliant leader as shown by the respect with which he was shown by his own troops and the leaders of the union army.  Yes he had warts but then again don't we all.  At least they are not taking a sledge to his statue.   
 

mariomike

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YZT580 said:
So who do you get rid of next?  George Washington or maybe Benjamin Franklin. 

The Difference Between George Washington and Robert E. Lee
https://foreignpolicy.com/2017/08/18/the-difference-between-george-washington-and-robert-e-lee-trump-sedition-slavery-confederate-monuments/

The former helped create the United States of America; the latter betrayed it.

There is still a place for Confederate statues and even Confederate flags. But that place is on battlefields and museums where history can be recounted in an even-handed and accurate fashion. It is not in public squares where such monuments serve as rallying symbols for neo-Nazis. The very fact that white supremacists are so bent on preserving Confederate statues, by force if need be, tells you all you need to know about why the president of the United States should not be defending them.
 

Remius

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Not necessarily.  You yourself said not to judge using our standards of today. 

Washington and Franklin lived in a time where it was acceptable.  More or less.

Jackson lived in a time where it was not.  Contrary to what you may think, slavery was seen as a bad thing.  Most had done away with it.  The US was one of the last countries to do so and when it tried to rid itself of it those that championed slavery rose up violently to maintain that system.  Jackson joined that side and fought to keep that system.  He was no patriot.  He was a traitor.  Plain and simple.

The statue was raised in 1912 during the Jim Crow era where it was quite in fashion for institutions and groups to do so to remind the black population who was in charge. 

It’s more than warts.  The man fought to destroy the union and maintain a system that others knew was evil. 

I am convinced that if the CSA had won, they would have gone on to be on par with South Africa and be an apartheid nation for just as long.

They did the right thing and put the statue where it really belongs in the right context. 
 

Eaglelord17

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mariomike said:
These threads about the Confederate flag, and statues of Confederate generals, remind me a little bit of something I once read,

After World War 2, all symbols of Nazism  were ordered removed in Germany.

German war cemeteries were / are places of honour, and respected as such.

For whatever reason(s), a similar idea did not seem to meet with as much enthusiasm after the American Civil War.

There is a huge difference between the Confederacy and the Nazis. They aren't even in the same ballpark.

A civil war is a terrible event, the goal is to unify post war. No side in that war was particularly evil. The South wanted to be able to control its own destiny, the North didn't want them to. Basically the same thing which caused the American Revolution in the first place except it was a secondary revolution to break that apart into a smaller group (I personally define the American Revolution as a bunch of rich white slave owning men who didn't want to pay their taxes). And you can argue it was about slavery all you want but at the end of the day the Emancipation Proclamation only freed the slaves in the South (i.e. destroying their economy as they were invading it), not through the whole of the USA. You can say the South were a bunch of racist slave owners, but at that point in time basically everyone was racist and some of the North still owned slaves. It isn't as black and white as people try to make it today.

Remius said:
Not necessarily.  You yourself said not to judge using our standards of today. 
Washington and Franklin lived in a time where it was acceptable.  More or less.
Jackson lived in a time where it was not.  Contrary to what you may think, slavery was seen as a bad thing.  Most had done away with it.  The US was one of the last countries to do so and when it tried to rid itself of it those that championed slavery rose up violently to maintain that system.  Jackson joined that side and fought to keep that system.  He was no patriot.  He was a traitor.  Plain and simple.
The statue was raised in 1912 during the Jim Crow era where it was quite in fashion for institutions and groups to do so to remind the black population who was in charge. 
It’s more than warts.  The man fought to destroy the union and maintain a system that others knew was evil. 
I am convinced that if the CSA had won, they would have gone on to be on par with South Africa and be an apartheid nation for just as long.
They did the right thing and put the statue where it really belongs in the right context. 

They rose up because the political system failed them. We have the same sorts of discussions every few years in Canada when we have governments elected with no support from certain areas (Quebec, Alberta and the Prairies, etc.). They were disenfranchised and following the American tradition rose up and tried to leave when it happened. Traitor is subjective. Sometimes you betray others to keep certain oaths. The man I reported for stealing even though he was a good friend would likely have considered me a traitor (this is with opportunities for him to turn himself in). Are all Americans traitors because they rose up against the British? The South had enough of the Union, does that not mean they should have been allowed to self determine their destiny just as the 13 colonies did 90 years earlier? This is partly why the USA has such issues with revolutionaries today. They can't say they are wrong because it would invalidate their whole countries existence.

For your point on slavery being evil, do you see yourself as evil? Because right now you are enjoying a standard of living well above the majority of the worlds population (or even every human that has ever existed, even royalty) maintained by the fact you are paid significantly more than others for the same work and able to buy cheap items produced by the rest of the world in terrible conditions for next to nothing (or in some cases literally nothing). Slavery never went away, we just changed what we called it and you are a benefactor of it as is basically everyone else in the first world. We choose to ignore the evils of this world when it benefits ourselves. Look at China committing genocide, taking away citizens rights in violation of international agreements, etc. and we just ignore it despite having the power to stop it.

The South did turn into basically a apartheid state. Actually all of the USA did, look at segregation and how it took until 1965 to get rid of it. Where do you think South Africa based its laws off of? It was the USA. People don't think of the States that way, but that is how they were. Champions of freedom and equality provided you were a white Christian male. Otherwise you were a second class citizen. That has only changed very recently i.e. >50 years.
 

mariomike

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Remius said:
Not necessarily.  You yourself said not to judge using our standards of today. 

Washington and Franklin lived in a time where it was acceptable.  More or less.

Jackson lived in a time where it was not.  Contrary to what you may think, slavery was seen as a bad thing.  Most had done away with it.  The US was one of the last countries to do so and when it tried to rid itself of it those that championed slavery rose up violently to maintain that system.  Jackson joined that side and fought to keep that system.  He was no patriot.  He was a traitor.  Plain and simple.

The statue was raised in 1912 during the Jim Crow era where it was quite in fashion for institutions and groups to do so to remind the black population who was in charge. 

It’s more than warts.  The man fought to destroy the union and maintain a system that others knew was evil. 

I am convinced that if the CSA had won, they would have gone on to be on par with South Africa and be an apartheid nation for just as long.

They did the right thing and put the statue where it really belongs in the right context.

As a Canadian, I was interested in the opinions of Americans. They seem to have gotten rid of the Confederate flag on state flags.

Opinions of Americans regarding Confederate statues and monuments seems split among racial and party lines.

According to Reuters, "Responses to the poll were sharply split along racial and party lines, however, with whites and Republicans largely supportive of preservation. Democrats and minorities were more likely to support removal."

Support for removal increased during the George Floyd protests, with 52% in favor of removal, and 44% opposed.

Poll: Majority supports removing Confederate statues from public places
https://thehill.com/homenews/news/503226-poll-majority-supports-removing-confederate-statues-from-public-places






 

Remius

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Eaglelord17 said:
There is a huge difference between the Confederacy and the Nazis. They aren't even in the same ballpark.

A civil war is a terrible event, the goal is to unify post war. No side in that war was particularly evil. The South wanted to be able to control its own destiny, the North didn't want them to. Basically the same thing which caused the American Revolution in the first place except it was a secondary revolution to break that apart into a smaller group (I personally define the American Revolution as a bunch of rich white slave owning men who didn't want to pay their taxes). And you can argue it was about slavery all you want but at the end of the day the Emancipation Proclamation only freed the slaves in the South (i.e. destroying their economy as they were invading it), not through the whole of the USA. You can say the South were a bunch of racist slave owners, but at that point in time basically everyone was racist and some of the North still owned slaves. It isn't as black and white as people try to make it today.

They rose up because the political system failed them. We have the same sorts of discussions every few years in Canada when we have governments elected with no support from certain areas (Quebec, Alberta and the Prairies, etc.). They were disenfranchised and following the American tradition rose up and tried to leave when it happened. Traitor is subjective. Sometimes you betray others to keep certain oaths. The man I reported for stealing even though he was a good friend would likely have considered me a traitor (this is with opportunities for him to turn himself in). Are all Americans traitors because they rose up against the British? The South had enough of the Union, does that not mean they should have been allowed to self determine their destiny just as the 13 colonies did 90 years earlier? This is partly why the USA has such issues with revolutionaries today. They can't say they are wrong because it would invalidate their whole countries existence.

For your point on slavery being evil, do you see yourself as evil? Because right now you are enjoying a standard of living well above the majority of the worlds population (or even every human that has ever existed, even royalty) maintained by the fact you are paid significantly more than others for the same work and able to buy cheap items produced by the rest of the world in terrible conditions for next to nothing (or in some cases literally nothing). Slavery never went away, we just changed what we called it and you are a benefactor of it as is basically everyone else in the first world. We choose to ignore the evils of this world when it benefits ourselves. Look at China committing genocide, taking away citizens rights in violation of international agreements, etc. and we just ignore it despite having the power to stop it.

The South did turn into basically a apartheid state. Actually all of the USA did, look at segregation and how it took until 1965 to get rid of it. Where do you think South Africa based its laws off of? It was the USA. People don't think of the States that way, but that is how they were. Champions of freedom and equality provided you were a white Christian male. Otherwise you were a second class citizen. That has only changed very recently i.e. >50 years.

Eaglelord, 

You are following the same line that southern apologists have used for decades.  That is wasn’t about slavery.  It was. 

The debate about whether it was a war for states rights or slavery still lingers but all you have to do is look at the various articles and declarations of secession from most states shows clearly that slavery was front and center, and that they feared abolition.

This link below shows the percentage of content related to slavery or states rights.  Note though that some  things about states rights involves slavery.

https://www.battlefields.org/learn/articles/reasons-secession

There is a link in the article that will send you to the original documents and articles of secession.

You be the judge.  But slavery seems to be THE main reason.

Now you comparing economic inequality with slavery is apples and oranges.  Everyone in Canada enjoys the same basic rights.  What we don’t necessarily all enjoy is equal social or economic equality and or outcomes.  Many things can explain that but it is not slavery where one group subjugates another group and essentially treats that group as less than human or as property. And more importantly that subjugation is state sponsored and encouraged by law. 

Trying to compare both in the same light only serves to dilute the travesty that slavery was in the US at that time even by that standard.

The south was a slave society.  Based on race and race alone.  There is a big difference between a society with slaves (which at one point Canada was) and a Slave society (which the confederacy was and past its best before date).  Society with slaves didn’t rely on slaves for its prosperity whereas a slave society does. Hence the civil war.  That way of life was threatened and the violently opposed changes to that.  Whether it was fighting the North or hanging, lynching and raping any slave that sought to try and leave or fight back.

 

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Eaglelord17 said:
There is a huge difference between the Confederacy and the Nazis. They aren't even in the same ballpark.

A civil war is a terrible event, the goal is to unify post war. No side in that war was particularly evil. The South wanted to be able to control its own destiny, the North didn't want them to. ...

Let me take a guess: There are no black slave ancestors in your family.

Yes there's a difference between the confederacy and the Nazis, but it wasn't huge. The Nazis took what was a general attitude to non Europeans (particularly Jews and Slavic communists) by Europeans (and North Americans) and turned it into an extreme "final solution". Confederates enslaved an entire racial class, ripped their families apart and condemned them to perpetual labour in the fields.

To say the Confederates weren't evil and merely wanted to control their own destiny is falling right into the white supremacist mythology of the "Lost Cause of the Confederacy" which grew after the Civil War until it reached a crescendo around the First World War.

The political system didn't fail them. What was happening before the Civil War was a wide movement to remove slavery from the western democratic society which had swept Europe and had made massive inroads into North America until it hit hard against the South whose wealthy class was basically formed by slave-owning agricultural class which wasn't prepared to give up their lifestyle and source of income; basically cotton dollars required the continued enslavement. Remember that these are the same folks who insisted that negros count as 3/5th of a man in the Constitution, not because they thought he was a fraction of a human being (in fact they thought of negros as sub human) but because they wanted the additional numbers to bolster their political weight in the central government vis a vis the growing Northern population. That wealthy class was completely supported by the South's lower classes who were more than happy to treat slaves as their inferiors and to rally around the jingoistic "States Rights" rhetoric of the day.

Not evil? Read a book about Andersonville some day to see how the Confederacy treated white prisoners of war. Or the Confederates' massacre of black POWs at Fort Pillow.

I know that you are trying to slot this argument into a bigger point but unfortunately your point is lost on what can easily be perceived as the minimization and excusing of an attempt by the South to maintain the indefinite oppression of a race of people which even at the relevant time was considered totally unacceptable by the right-thinking, God-fearing western society of the day.

:cheers:
 

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Being Canadian and training in 'the south' is eye opening.

As Canadian soldiers when we here someone being racist we want to jump in and defend the person being targeted.

Anecdotal - if this happens in the US and we speak up with a view to defending black soldiers from racist or ignorant comments we're politely told by the black soldier "thanks for what you're trying to do, but you're not helping. As soon as you leave we'll pay for it". And other words to that effect.

It's super sad and disheartening. It feels alien, especially said so blatantly, and to see the recipients so accepting.



There's some shocking videos on YouTube from down in the south, 2020, of people looking every part the soccer mom or friendly neighbor next door driving by making racist comments towards blacks and whites alike holding anti-racism signage.



I think Eaglelord brings up great points about all the cheap items we enjoy in North America.
Fits the description of slave labor depending which dictionary you're looking at.

 

daftandbarmy

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FJAG said:
Yes there's a difference between the confederacy and the Nazis, but it wasn't huge.

Of course there was a huge difference between Nazism and Slavery.

The former only lasted a few years.

The latter, in the North American/ European/ African context, lasted for centuries and was at the heart of a very successful (for the Colonial Masters) mercantilist system...

"Trade, during this period, became triangulated between the British Empire, its colonies, and foreign markets. This fostered the development of the slave trade in many colonies, including America. The colonies provided rum, cotton, and other products heavily demanded by imperialists in Africa. In turn, slaves were returned to America or the West Indies and traded for sugar and molasses."

https://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/041615/how-did-mercantilism-affect-colonies-great-britain.asp#:~:text=Key%20Takeaways,an%20imbalanced%20system%20of%20trade.
 
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