In August 1619, the first ship with “20 and odd” enslaved Africans arrived on the shores of Virginia. Four hundred years later, we look back at this moment as the start of an enduring relationship between the founding of the United States and the unconscionable exploitation of the enslaved.
In a sweeping project published by the New York Times Magazine this month exploring the legacy of slavery, Nikole Hannah-Jones wrote, “[The enslaved] and their descendants transformed the lands to which they’d been brought into some of the most successful colonies in the British Empire. … But it would be historically inaccurate to reduce the contributions of black people to the vast material wealth created by our bondage. Black Americans have also been, and continue to be, foundational to the idea of American freedom.”
Yet centuries later, the lasting impact of slavery continues to be minimized and myths continue to flourish. For instance, there’s the erasure of the many slave revolts and rebellions that happened throughout the nation, perpetuating the lie that the enslaved were docile or satisfied with their conditions. There’s also the persistent idea that black labor exploitation is over, when mass incarceration still keeps millions of black Americans behind bars and often working for “wages” that amount to less than $1 an hour. Then there’s the idea that our understanding of slavery is accurate based on what we learned in history textbooks, when in reality, misinformation continues to be taught in our public schools about slavery’s legacy.
more recommended stories
Bartender Shannon Mustipher Upgrades Instant Ramen “I hooked it up with mint and basil and fresh scallions.”
Earlier this year, the relentlessly energetic.
This 103-year-old woman still helps run the pie shop she opened nearly 70 years ago
The family-run business is serving up.
Lash Nolen Is Harvard Medical School’s First Black Woman Class President
Lash Nolen is “hungry for justice”.
11 charts that track the progress America has made in racial equality — and all the visceral ways we still have left to go
February is Black History Month, when.
‘Self Made’ Trailer: Octavia Spencer Radiates Strength as C.J. Walker in Netflix Series
Blair Underwood and Tiffany Haddish join.
Breaking the color barrier: behind the long fight to diversify space
The film Black in Space: Breaking.
Robert F. Smith on becoming the richest black man in America, what companies get wrong about diversity, and what he’s doing to help mint more black billionaires
Robert F. Smith is the richest.
‘It sounded like the future’: behind Miles Davis’s greatest album
On the 50th anniversary of Bitches.
Author of ‘Decolonial Daughter’ discusses motherhood, racism and her letters to her European son
Brooklyn-born author Lesley-Ann Brown decided to.
Don’t pit slavery descendants against black immigrants. Racism doesn’t know the difference.
An anti-African, anti-black-immigrant stance is shortsighted..