Sanford Deyo: Take care to understand the facts about slavery

Colin Kaepernick has expressed his displeasure with the “Betsy Ross flag” because he feels that rather than celebrating the original 13 colonies, it also celebrates the slavery that existed at that time.

Kaepernick is entitled to his opinion, but I feel he, like many others, either is ignorant of or wishes to ignore historical facts.

Slavery existed throughout the world prior to the 1500s. Some of the participants were the Muslims from the countries of North Africa. They would go to Central Africa, often with the aid of local Africans, and capture and enslave other natives.

Following Columbus’ voyage of 1492, many Hispanics, for various reasons, traveled to the Caribbean, Central and South American. The local natives became their primary labor force. Unfortunately, the Hispanics brought with them diseases that greatly decimated most of the local natives.

This need for laborers for their plantations, mining operations, etc., led to the introduction of African slaves into the Western Hemisphere.

This practice existed for about 100 years before the start of the first colonies in North America in the 1600s. It also continued until the mid 1800s.

Many of the original colonies, being started based on religious beliefs, did not condone slavery. The majority of the African slaves were in the southern states which relied heavily on tobacco as their cash crop. Ironically, it was Eli Whitney’s invention of the cotton gin which made the removal of the cotton seed easier and less toilsome that changed the South into being a cotton-based economy. It should also be noted that it was the demand by the mills of the northern states that greatly influenced this change to a cotton economy.

In the early 1800s, North Africans were raiding ships in the Mediterranean taking passengers and crew members for ransom and enslavement. The taking of U.S. ships led to the involvement of U.S. Marines. It was their action against the “pirates of the Barbary Coast” that led to the line “... to the Shores of Tripoli” in the Marine hymn.

Slavery has been cited as a major factor in the Civil War ... the War Between the States. This does not address the fact that the vast majority of those fighting on the side of the South were not slaveowners and there were those fighting on the side of the North that were slaveowners. Just maybe the issue of state’s rights was the bigger issue.

Yes, the United States was involved in slavery and, while it is not acceptable, it should be noted the involvement of this country was much shorter than the involvement of the Hispanics and Africans. It also involved a much lower number of slaves.

I do not and never have believed in slavery. I also feel slavery in this country was just one of a number of injustices committed by this nation. However, I feel the number of rightful actions taken by all Americans, white, black, etc., far outweigh the wrongs that have been committed. I feel there are a great number of Americans who fought and died for the cause of freedom throughout the world that attest to this.

I also wish to note that Barack Hussein Obama, when campaigning, spoke of bringing us together. However, as president, a number of incidents occurred involving the committing of a crime, an attempt to arrest a suspect, a resistance and the a death of an individual. Rather than addressing the issue of a criminal act having been committed, President Obama spoke of police brutality and racism. I believe his actions were responsible for the murder of a number of members of our law enforcement agencies and a heightening of racial tensions.

It is unfortunate that many of us make accusations or assumptions without knowing or considering all the facts. This often has led to many unfortunate situations.


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