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Showing posts from January, 2021

Continental Drift : African Europeans: An Untold History

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  Continental Drift: Two continents and two millennia of extraordinary African Europeans. Christienna Fryar, January 2021, History Today Olivette Otele’s African Europeans: An Untold History  begins in 23 BC and ends in the present day, spanning two continents, from Sweden to Senegal, from Portugal to St Petersburg. Inevitably such ambitious scope requires a focus. Otele, who became the UK’s first female Black history professor in 2018, covers the terrain by orienting her study around extraordinary figures from each period.  Beginning in the Roman era, Otele explores how officials such as Marcus Cornelius Fronto and Emperor Septimius Severus navigated their African and Roman identities. Staying in the Mediterranean, a discussion of 16th-century Florence and Spain focuses on the lives of the Duke of Florence, Alessandro de’ Medici and the Spaniard Juan Latino, a Latin scholar and poet who had been enslaved for the first few decades of his life. Otele then moves north t

Was the Constitution a Pro-Slavery Document?

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  Was the Constitution a Pro-Slavery Document? Gordon S. Wood, January 12, 2021, The New York Times Gordon S. Wood reviews The Crooked Path to Abolition: Abraham Lincoln and the Antislavery Constitution , by James Oakes It was not long after the federal Constitution was created in 1787 that many antislavery Northerners began labeling it a pro-slavery document. Parts of it did support slavery — the clause that counted a slave as three-fifths of a person, which gave the slave states greater representation in Congress and the Electoral College than opponents of slavery believed they deserved; and the fugitive slave clause, which required persons held to service who had escaped to free states to be returned to their owners. Because these poisonous clauses seemed to enable Southern slaveholders to dominate the national government in the early decades of the 19th century, the rabid abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison eventually concluded that the Constitution was a “covena

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absolute power depends on absolute control over knowledge, which in turn necessitates absolute corruption

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