Just Off My Bookshelf: The American Slave Coast

With every book I open I learn something new that enhances my perspective. The  prominent idea of this book is how the transport of slaves from Africa to America was not banned for moral reasons but for monetary reasons. The demand for slaves to work the newly acquired land of Louisiana, raised the prices of slaves along the east coast (Virginia, Georgia, Maryland, etc). So stopping supply from Africa was to the benefit of slaveowners on the east coast. That’s why Ned and Constance Sublette named this book the American Slave Coast.

There are many gruesome accounts to read and harsh realities to understand. But understanding them give insight into the underlying issues of power, money, and oppression. This book is lengthy and very informative. You’re guaranteed to walk away with a new perspective of the past and a more informed approach to working for a better future.

Some quotes I underlined:

“When we speak of ‘branding’ today, we should remember that it was at one time literal: with a hot iron pressed against human flesh. York literally  put his name on his merchandise…”

“You see real misery and apparent luxury, insulting each other.”

“Capital was money that made more money, and slaves were property who made more property–including more slaves, who could be used as money when the need arose.”

“When it was time to sail, the captives were marched under cover of predawn darkness out of his complex, located near present-day Oriole Park, down seven or so blocks to Fell’s Point.”

“Again we have deluded ourselves into believing the myth that capitalism grew and prospered out of the Protestant ethic of hard work and sacrifice. The fact is that capitalism was built on the exploitation and suffering of black slaves and continues to thrive on the exploitation of the poor–both black and white, both here and abroad.” -MLK

Just Off My Bookshelf: Bolivar

It’s important for me to read books about different cultures and different eras. I didn’t know much about Simon Bolivar before picking up this book. I learned about his leadership, his courage and South American countries in reading this book. Marie Arana does a great job describing his character and the various challenges of his time. If you are interested in learning about the history of independence in South America, I would recommend this as book.

Some quotes I underlined:

“The art of victory is learned in failure.”

This quote reminds me that people have been brutal throughout history and many different lands: “They dragged Ribas into town, killed him, dismembered him, fried his head in a lot of bubbling oil, and transported it in an orange cage to Caracas, where it was displayed…”

“But beyond the notion that equal rights demanded equal sacrifices, Bolivar believed in the inherent logic of liberty: ‘any free government that commits the folly of allowing slavery can expect to be punished by revolution.'”

“My hope is that our republics–less nations than sisters–will unite according to the bonds that have always united us, with the difference that in centuries past we obeyed the same tyrant, whereas now we will embrace a shared freedom.”