Saturday, 3 May 2014

A Southerner's Explanation


     This race thing, what with the basketball team owner and the old rancher being jumped on for having said anything or something, is really tiresome.  Each and all has and have his/her and their point of view.   Each has his notion or theorem about "the race thing" and many feel as though they have settled the issue, at least within their own reckoning.   Both of the above mentioned fellows need to do a bit of introspection and the former needs to stay away from gold-digging slugs who Delilah bigoted old men. 

    El Gringo Viejo has a mixture of facts and feelings to throw upon the woodpile and he will speak freely without constraint as did the two individuals to whom we have referred above.


     First and foremost, the greatest mistake ever made by the Caucasian race during the history of humanity was to have uprooted Black Africans and then to have brought them over to the New World to toil in bondage.   In the short, medium, and long run there were and would be no winners in the arrangement.   What the black man gained in having a bit of protection from the uncertainties of life in the jungle and savannah was lost in the absence of any form of liberty, lest it be granted by another person.
     What the white man lost was a similar liberty, it being true that a good master became a slave to his slaves and a bad master became a social ogre to all, black and white, and almost always died a miserable, lonely death with few to grieve his passing.

     One of the main problems with the understanding of race, bondage, and the American situation...along with the Peculiar that there is so little understanding about the issue.   It was not long ago that a history professor advised me that he had never heard of the word 'manumission'.   The word means, of course, that process by which a slave owner cancels the estate of slavery held by a person, and with his authority grants the slave his unconditional status of freeman.  While in the South, manumission could come with all kinds of social and legal appendages, it generally meant that a person was free to move around without a written or well-known publicly understood permission.   It meant that a person could buy and own land, cattle, implements, and accoutrements with no others person's permission.  It meant that he or she was free to marry whosoever he/she might deem worthy.
Voting was usually a no, and marrying outside of the race was generally legally prohibited.   States and locales generally varied on permitting a Negro to carry a firearm or significant knife (Bowie, etc.).  Home ownership of fowling and self-defence firearms were generally allowed.
     It should be remembered that at that time, there was still no direct election of United States Senators anywhere in the South, and most other States as well.   Some States had their U.S. Senators named by the governor with the approval of the State's senate or legislature, other States elected their Senators from the State's legislature.   Many white people could not vote because they were not property holders in the amount of some specified value.

     An oddity of the Peculiar Institution that is almost always overlooked is that a Negro freeman was the fourth largest holder of slaves during the period leading up to the War Between the States.    Allow us to submit an excellent summary of the issue:

     In an 1856 letter to his wife Mary Custis Lee, Robert E. Lee called slavery "a moral and political evil." Yet he concluded that black slaves were immeasurably better off here than in Africa, morally, socially and physically.  (El Gringo Viejo points out here that Robert Edward Lee, Commanding General, Army of Northern Virginia, never owned a slave.)
The fact is large numbers of free Negroes owned black slaves; in fact, in numbers disproportionate to their representation in society at large. In 1860 only a small minority of whites owned slaves. According to the U.S. census report for that last year before the Civil War, there were nearly 27 million whites in the country. Some eight million of them lived in the slaveholding states.
The census also determined that there were fewer than 385,000 individuals who owned slaves (1). Even if all slaveholders had been white, that would amount to only 1.4 percent of whites in the country (or 4.8 percent of southern whites owning one or more slaves).

     In the rare instances when the ownership of slaves by free Negroes is acknowledged in the history books, justification centers on the claim that black slave masters were simply individuals who purchased the freedom of a spouse or child from a white slaveholder and had been unable to legally manumit them. Although this did indeed happen at times, it is a misrepresentation of the majority of instances, one which is debunked by records of the period on blacks who owned slaves. These include individuals such as Justus Angel and Mistress L. Horry, of Colleton District, South Carolina, who each owned 84 slaves in 1830. In fact, in 1830 a fourth of the free Negro slave masters in South Carolina owned 10 or more slaves; eight owning 30 or more (2).

     According to federal census reports, on June 1, 1860 there were nearly 4.5 million Negroes in the United States, with fewer than four million of them living in the southern slaveholding states. Of the blacks residing in the South, 261,988 were not slaves. Of this number, 10,689 lived in New Orleans. The country's leading African American historian, Duke University professor John Hope Franklin, records that in New Orleans over 3,000 free Negroes owned slaves, or 28 percent of the free Negroes in that city.

     To return to the census figures quoted above, this 28 percent is certainly impressive when compared to less than 1.4 percent of all American whites and less than 4.8 percent of southern whites. The statistics show that, when free, blacks disproportionately became slave masters.   The majority of slaveholders, white and black, owned only one to five slaves. More often than not, and contrary to a century and a half of bullwhips-on-tortured-backs propaganda, black and white masters worked and ate alongside their charges; be it in house, field or workshop. The few individuals who owned 50 or more slaves were confined to the top one percent, and have been defined as slave magnates.

     In 1860 there were at least six Negroes in Louisiana who owned 65 or more slaves The largest number, 152 slaves, were owned by the widow C. Richards and her son P.C. Richards, who owned a large sugar cane plantation. Another Negro slave magnate in Louisiana, with over 100 slaves, was Antoine Dubuclet, a sugar planter whose estate was valued at (in 1860 dollars) $264,000 (3). That year, the mean wealth of southern white men was $3,978 (4).

     In Charleston, South Carolina in 1860 125 free Negroes owned slaves; six of them owning 10 or more. Of the $1.5 million in taxable property owned by free Negroes in Charleston, more than $300,000 represented slave holdings (5). In North Carolina 69 free Negroes were slave owners (6).

     In 1860 William Ellison was South Carolina's largest Negro slaveowner. In Black Masters. A Free Family of Colour in the Old South, authors Michael P. Johnson and James L. Roak write a sympathetic account of Ellison's life. From Ellison's birth as a slave to his death at 71, the authors attempt to provide justification, based on their own speculation, as to why a former slave would become a magnate slave master.

     At birth he was given the name April. A common practice among slaves of the period was to name a child after the day or month of his or her birth. Between 1800 and 1802 April was purchased by a white slave-owner named William Ellison. Apprenticed at 12, he was taught the trades of carpentry, blacksmithing and machining, as well as how to read, write, cipher and do basic bookkeeping. (El Gringo Viejo points out here that the law in South Carolina and most Slave States prohibited the instruction of Negroes in matters of reading, writing, and ciphering.  It was urged by the authorities to read scripture and teach hymns to the slaves instead.  The laws were most frequently overlooked, and some plantations even had three grades of school, with tutors.  Small holders, those with fewer than 10 charges, could teach by osmosis, and the children were known to delight in demonstrating their recitations and ciphering skills.)

     On June 8, 1816, William Ellison appeared before a magistrate (with five local freeholders as supporting witnesses) to gain permission to free April, now 26 years of age. In 1800 the South Carolina legislature had set out in detail the procedures for manumission. To end the practice of freeing unruly slaves of "bad or depraved" character and those who "from age or infirmity" were incapacitated, the state required that an owner testify under oath to the good character of the slave he sought to free. Also required was evidence of the slave's "ability to gain a livelihood in an honest way."

     Although lawmakers of the time could not envision the incredibly vast public welfare structures of a later age, these stipulations became law in order to prevent slaveholders from freeing individuals who would become a burden on the general public.   Interestingly, considering today's accounts of life under slavery, authors Johnson and Roak report instances where free Negroes petitioned to be allowed to become slaves; this because they were unable to support themselves.

     Black Confederates and Afro-Yankees in Civil War Virginia (University Press of Virginia-1995) was written by Ervin L. Jordan Jr., an African-American and assistant professor and associate curator of the Special Collections Department, University of Virginia library. He wrote: "One of the more curious aspects of the free black existence in Virginia was their ownership of slaves. Black slave masters owned members of their family and freed them in their wills. Free blacks were encouraged to sell themselves into slavery and had the right to choose their owner through a lengthy court procedure."

     In 1816, shortly after his manumission, April moved to Stateburg. Initially he hired slave workers from local owners. When in 1817 he built a gin for Judge Thomas Watries, he credited the judge nine dollars "for hire of carpenter George for 12 days." By 1820 he had purchased two adult males to work in his shop (7). In fewer than four years after being freed, April demonstrated that he had no problem perpetuating an institution he had been released from. He also achieved greater monetary success than most white people of the period.

     On June 20, 1820, April appeared in the Sumter District courthouse in Sumterville. Described in court papers submitted by his attorney as a "freed yellow man (usually a quadroon or mulatto) of about 29 years of age," he requested a name change because it "would yet greatly advance his interest as a tradesman." A new name would also "save him and his children from degradation and contempt which the minds of some do and will attach to the name April." Because "of the kindness" of his former master and as a "Mark of gratitude and respect for him" April asked that his name be changed to William Ellison. His request was granted.
     In time the black Ellison family joined the predominantly white Episcopal church. On August 6, 1824 he was allowed to put a family pew on the first floor, among those of the wealthy white families. Other blacks, free and slave, and poor whites sat in the balcony. Another wealthy Negro family would later join the first floor worshippers.

     Between 1822 and the mid-1840s, Ellison gradually built a small empire, acquiring slaves in increasing numbers. He became one of South Carolina's major cotton gin manufacturers, selling his machines as far away as Mississippi. From February 1817 until the War Between the States commenced, his business advertisements appeared regularly in newspapers across the state. These included the Camden Gazette, the Sumter Southern Whig and the Black River Watchman.

     Ellison was so successful, due to his utilization of cheap slave labor, that many white competitors went out of business. Such situations discredit impressions that whites dealt only with other whites. Where money was involved, it was apparent that neither Ellison's race or former status were considerations.

     In his book, Ervin L. Jordan Jr. writes that, as the great conflagration of 1861-1865 approached: "Free Afro-Virginians were a nascent black middle class under siege, but several acquired property before and during the war. Approximately 169 free blacks owned 145,976 acres in the counties of Amelia, Amherst, Isle of Wight, Nansemond, Prince William and Surry, averaging 870 acres each. Twenty-nine Petersburg blacks each owned property worth $1,000 and continued to purchase more despite the war."
     Jordan offers an example: "Gilbert Hunt, a Richmond ex-slave blacksmith, owned two slaves, a house valued at $1,376, and $500 in other properties at his death in 1863." Jordan wrote that "some free black residents of Hampton and Norfolk owned property of considerable value; 17 black Hamptonians possessed property worth a total of $15,000. Thirty-six black men paid taxes as heads of families in Elizabeth City County and were employed as blacksmiths, bricklayers, fishermen, oystermen and day labourers. In three Norfolk County parishes 160 blacks owned a total of $41,158 in real estate and personal property.

     The general practice of the period was that plantation owners would buy seed and equipment on credit and settle their outstanding accounts when the annual cotton crop was sold. Ellison, like all free Negroes, could resort to the courts for enforcement of the terms of contract agreements. Several times Ellison successfully sued white men for money owed him.
     In 1838 Ellison purchased on time 54.5 acres adjoining his original acreage from one Stephen D. Miller. He moved into a large home on the property. What made the acquisition notable was that Miller had served in the South Carolina legislature, both in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate, and while a resident of Stateburg had been governor of the state. Ellison's next door neighbor was Dr. W.W. Anderson, master of "Borough House, a magnificent 18th Century mansion. Anderson's son would win fame in the War Between the States as General "Fighting Dick" Anderson.

     By 1847 Ellison owned over 350 acres, and more than 900 by 1860. He raised mostly cotton, with a small acreage set aside for cultivating foodstuffs to feed his family and slaves. In 1840 he owned 30 slaves, and by 1860 he owned 63. His sons, who lived in homes on the property, owned an additional nine slaves. They were trained as gin makers by their father (8). They had spent time in Canada, where many wealthy American Negroes of the period sent their children for advanced formal education. Ellison's sons and daughters married mulattos from Charleston, bringing them to the Ellison plantation to live.
     In 1860 Ellison greatly underestimated his worth to tax assessors at $65,000. Even using this falsely stated figure, this man who had been a slave 44 years earlier had achieved great financial success. His wealth outdistanced 90 percent of his white neighbors in Sumter District. In the entire state, only five percent owned as much real estate as Ellison. His wealth was 15 times greater than that of the state's average for whites. And Ellison owned more slaves than 99 percent of the South's slaveholders.
      Although a successful businessman and cotton farmer, Ellison's major source of income derived from being a "slave breeder." Slave breeding was looked upon with disgust throughout the South, and the laws of most southern states forbade the sale of slaves under the age of 12. In several states it was illegal to sell inherited slaves (9). Nevertheless, in 1840 Ellison secretly began slave breeding.
     While there was subsequent investment return in raising and keeping young males, females were not productive workers in his factory or his cotton fields. As a result, except for a few females he raised to become "breeders," Ellison sold the female and many of the male children born to his female slaves at an average price of $400. Ellison had a reputation as a harsh master. His slaves were said to be the district's worst fed and clothed. On his property was located a small, windowless building where he would chain his problem slaves.
     As with the slaves of his white counterparts, occasionally Ellison's slaves ran away. The historians of Sumter District reported that from time to time Ellison advertised for the return of his runaways. On at least one occasion Ellison hired the services of a slave catcher. According to an account by Robert N. Andrews, a white man who had purchased a small hotel in Stateburg in the 1820s, Ellison hired him to run down "a valuable slave. Andrews caught the slave in Belleville, Virginia. He stated: "I was paid on returning home $77.50 and $74 for expenses.

    William Ellison died December 5, 1861. His will stated that his estate should pass into the joint hands of his free daughter and his two surviving sons. He bequeathed $500 to the slave daughter he had sold.    Following in their father's footsteps, the Ellison family actively supported the Confederacy throughout the war. They converted nearly their entire plantation to the production of corn, fodder, bacon, corn shucks and cotton for the Confederate armies. They paid $5,000 in taxes during the war. They also invested more than $9,000 in Confederate bonds, treasury notes and certificates in addition to the Confederate currency they held. At the end, all this valuable paper became worthless.
    The younger Ellisons contributed more than farm produce, labour, and money to the Confederate cause. On March 27, 1863 John Wilson Buckner, William Ellison's oldest grandson, enlisted in the 1st South Carolina Artillery. Buckner served in the company of Captains P.P. Galliard and A.H. Boykin, local white men who knew that Buckner was a Negro. Although it was illegal at the time for a Negro to formally join the Confederate forces, the Ellison family's prestige nullified the law in the minds of Buckner's comrades. Buckner was wounded in action on July 12, 1863. At his funeral in Stateburg in August, 1895 he was praised by his former Confederate officers as being a "faithful soldier."

     Following the war the Ellison family fortune quickly dwindled. But many former Negro slave magnates quickly took advantage of circumstances and benefited by virtue of their race. For example Antoine Dubuclet, the previously mentioned New Orleans plantation owner who held more than 100 slaves, became Louisiana state treasurer during Reconstruction, a post he held from 1868 to 1877 (10).

    A truer picture of the Old South, one never presented by the nation's mind moulders, emerges from this account. The American South had been undergoing structural evolutionary changes far, far greater than generations of Americans have been led to believe. In time, within a relatively short time, the obsolete and economically nonviable institution of slavery would have disappeared. The nation would have been spared awesome traumas from which it would never fully recover. (red-letter emphasis added by El Gringo Viejo)


     We move on now, for the purposes of exemplification and elucidation by considering the person and actions of Lt. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, CSA.  He is the most commonly reviled of all Southern officers and soldiers and Southerners in general because he was such a horrid racist and brutalizer of the Negro.   However, when one leaves the New Plantation, and reaches out to reliable factual information about this man, one learns that he never said he won his battles because, "I gets there fustest wif the mostest".   Nor was he an ignorant unlettered, and un-schooled white-trash bumpkin.  That he was generally un-schooled is true.  But that he was intensely tutored is also true, and he was quite literate, and born into an aristocratic plantation family whose early poverty was due to its determination to make a new beginning in far western Tennessee.  That new beginning was generally successful and led to Forrest's being able to answer the Governor's call to for a brigade of heavy cavalry, which Forrest did at his own expense.

     These excerpts are examples  which demonstrate how the truth about Forrest has been degraded by the repetition of untrue "information" rendered by leftist history professors at all the finest schools.   The fact is that Forrest was integral in the founding of the first post graduate school for Negroes in the South, a school that offered j.d. degrees that would be recognised by the Tennessee Bar.  Forrest was active on various fronts including the hiring of Negroes into high skill positions such as locomotive engineer, design engineers for rail-grading and design, and architects for major buildings for his railroad company.

     Below is the treatment of the 44 slaves who joined his "Praetorian Guard", his closest command squadron at the beginning of the war.  They were thought to have been somehow magically or angelically protected because they fought from the beginning until the end of the War, served in the middle of seven major battles and two score or more major skirmishes, moved around for over 5,000 miles, went through the most hideous weather and illness epidemics, along with horrid close-in combat.    And....not one of the Black Confederate Heroes was killed or seriously wounded.   This excerpt included below indicates that one trooper deserted, although other accounts say that a nearby explosion of a cannon-launched bomb threw him from his mount, causing a serious inner ear injury from which he never recovered.  He was ''teched" and out of balance due to that ear problem...having lost his ability to balance.....the "eighth sense" as it is known.   Forrest had offered each of these 44 his manumission at the end of the War, saying ''When we win you will be freemen, and honoured as heroes.  If we lose, you will be free in any regard, and you will remain heroes among your neighbours."
     When it became apparent that the War might well be lost, Forrest turned over the notarised manumissions to his men anyway and told them they were free to leave.  They had served enough.  They all stayed.
      Also, the article below indicated that the 44 were dispersed in his command but had re-unified towards the end of the War.  Most of the articles El Gringo Viejo has reviewed about these men (some in university 'historical records and documents' sections), indicate that they remained all mounted, and all heavily armed, and all in the immediate Headquarters Command....a form of Praetorian Guard.  To wit:

      When the Civil War began, Forrest offered freedom to 44 of his slaves if they would serve with him in the Confederate army. All 44 agreed. One later deserted; the other 43 served faithfully until the end of the war.

     Though they had many chances to leave, they chose to remain loyal to the South and to Forrest. Part of General Forrest's command included his own Escort Company, his Green Berets, made up of the very best soldiers available. This unit, which varied in size from 40-90 men, was the elite of the cavalry. Eight of these picked men were black soldiers and all served gallantly and bravely throughout the war. All were armed with at least 2 pistols and a rifle. Most also carried two additional pistols in saddle holsters. At war's end, when Forrest's cavalry surrendered in May 1865, there were 65 black troopers on the muster roll. Of the soldiers who served under him, Forrest said of the black troops: Finer Confederates never fought.

      When Forrest died in 1877 it is noteworthy that his funeral in Memphis was attended not only by a throng of thousands of whites but by hundreds of blacks as well. The funeral procession was over two miles long and was attended by over 10,000 area residents, including 3000 black citizens paying their respects.

    The above trio of paragraphs above concerns the most maligned of all Confederate generals and personalities, especially over the affair at Fort Pillow.  He was very active in the establishment of the Ku Klux Klan, and usually the story stops there.  That is convenient for the South haters, and those who like to change the colours and tones of the history because they won the War.  But victory cannot, en fin, change the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.  Forrest was present during the establishment of the Klan, but he was also the most instrumental in its abolition when it had fallen off the track.   It was originally thought to be a good vehicle for the establishment of a Confederate Veterans' society, but when it fell of the tracks and became a agency for thuggery (at times at the behest of Union Reconstruction interests), Forrest was the most influential at the first de-activation of the Ku Klux Klan.


   The following is an account of General Forrest's brief speech to the Independent Order of Pole-Bearers, a group dedicated to the advancement of integrality of black and white society and common legal treatment via the vote; thence Pole-Bearers, as a play on words for the Polls (or election processes).   It was a precursor of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People.

Nathan Bedford Forrest's speech to the Independent Order of Pole-Bearers Association July 5, 1875.

      A convention and BBQ was held by the Independent Order of Pole-Bearers Association at the fairgrounds of Memphis, five miles east of the city. An invitation to speak was conveyed to General Nathan Bedford Forrest, one of the city's most prominent citizens, and one of the foremost cavalry commanders in the late War Between the States. This was the first invitation granted to a white man to speak at this gathering. The invitation's purpose, one of the leaders said, was to extend peace, joy, and union, and following a brief welcoming address a Miss Lou Lewis, daughter of an officer of the Pole-Bearers, brought forward flowers and assurances that she conveyed them as a token of good will. After Miss Lewis handed him the flowers, General Forrest responded with a short speech that, in the contemporary pages of the Memphis Appeal, evinces Forrest's racial open-mindedness that seemed to have been growing in him.       "Ladies and Gentlemen I accept the flowers as a memento of reconciliation between the white and colored races of the southern states. I accept it more particularly as it comes from a colored lady, for if there is any one on God's earth who loves the ladies I believe it is myself. ( Immense applause and laughter.) I came here with the jeers of some white people, who think that I am doing wrong. I believe I can exert some influence, and do much to assist the people in strengthening fraternal relations, and shall do all in my power to elevate every man to depress none. (Applause.) I want to elevate you to take positions in law offices, in stores, on farms, and wherever you are capable of going. I have not said anything about politics today. I don't propose to say anything about politics. You have a right to elect whom you please; vote for the man you think best, and I think, when that is done, you and I are freemen. Do as you consider right and honest in electing men for office. I did not come here to make you a long speech, although invited to do so by you. I am not much of a speaker, and my business prevented me from preparing myself. I came to meet you as friends, and welcome you to the white people. I want you to come nearer to us. When I can serve you I will do so. We have but one flag, one country; let us stand together. We may differ in color, but not in sentiment Many things have been said about me which are wrong, and which white and black persons here, who stood by me through the war, can contradict. Go to work, be industrious, live honestly and act truly, and when you are oppressed I'll come to your relief. I thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for this opportunity you have afforded me to be with you, and to assure you that I am with you in heart and in hand. (Prolonged applause.)" 

     Whereupon N. B. Forrest again thanked Miss Lewis for the bouquet and then gave her a kiss on the cheek. Such a kiss was unheard of in the society of those days, in 1875, but it showed a token of respect and friendship between the general and the black community and did much to promote harmony among the citizens of Memphis.


     El Gringo Viejo has borrowed greatly from other sources, sources that are independent and academic, resulting from true studies and analysis, and not from popular understanding.   Our American popular understanding has, by-in-large, contributed to an inability to discern fact from fiction, and to think in platitudes and trite phrases that are frequently false.   At this point, most American students, for instance, cannot determine whether or not the First World War preceded the Second World War, and broad numbers would not be able to tell if we were fighting Germany or Australia, France or the Planet Zombar in either War. .

     The continuous assault on critical thinking and on the construct of historical explanation...not to mention facts...has gone a long way into the cultural destruction of the Republic.  Contradictory facts cannot be appreciated either for instruction or for ironic, only-in-America humour.  Lee never owned a slave, and Grant, through a series of situations did own a slave even during the War.   It should serve as a guide as well that no leaders of the Union forces...not the President, the Vice-President, none of the generals, not Sherman, Grant, Sheridan, Meade, none of them....and precious few if any in the Congress or among the Governors of the Union States believed in any way in the intellectual and moral equality of the Black man to the White man.  Lincoln himself saw the liberation of the Black man as an opportunity to begin thinking quickly about taking up Mexican President Benito Juarez Garcia's offer of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec for the building of the "Panama Canal", because "Black men are better suited to working in the Tropics."


     We shall continue this to-morrow, working quickly to the present, to demonstrate that there is no longer any true understanding about how the Black Race has been tooled by the Progressives for the purpose of being re-enslaved political robotrons.   It is so evident that in sociological terms one could say, "It's hiding in plain sight."

Thanks for working through this Part I of why we have the Basketball and Range Race Wars.
El Gringo Viejo