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

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