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8/31/20 – Olivia Cosco

I found Smith’s article, “Point Comfort: Where Slavery Began in America 400 Years Ago” to be very interesting and tie back to to what Howard Zinn says in his chapter, Drawing the Color Line.

Zinn discusses the beginnings of slavery and how it was never really about color until the triangle trade. He tells us that black people were the answer to Virginians needing more labor to be done. They were helpless which made enslavement easier; but besides that, they could not force Indians or white servants. Indians had a reputation of being tough, resourceful, defiant and would fight back. White servants had not yet been brought over in a large enough quantity in order to enslave them. I found this to be very interesting, as it made me wonder what our world and history would look like if things did not happen exactly like this.

Going off of that, Smith discusses exactly where slavery began. It was 1619 when a ship with twenty captives was headed toward Mexico and they were captured by the White Lion, another ship. They ended at point comfort. This is where slavery was born. Now, being that it is 2020, Fort Monroe in Hampton, Southern Virginia will celebrate the 400th year anniversary, in hopes that it will be a pivot point in society.

To me, the most interesting part in Smith’s article, was hearing from Walter Jones, whose mother is the oldest living Tucker. Jones discusses being raised to forgive all people for some things, because he was taught that it was rarely just their fault. He then mentioned that not having any recognition for past events makes him a little bitter. He later poses the question about recognition, “if it hasn’t come by now, when will it? And now that it’s 400 years coming up, how many people truly will recognize that?” When thinking about this, if I’m being honest, I do not think without this article being assigned to me, I would have recognized that it’s been 400 years.

That leads me to the final point that stuck out to me. Congressman, James Clyburn believes America still has not confronted the issue of slavery. He feels as though we have ignored it in an effort to make it go away. I do not necessarily agree with this, because I feel that we have started to converse more about these issues in the past couple years, but I still feel there is more to be done in terms of creating awareness of the past.


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  1. Margot Roussel Margot Roussel

    I agree with you that people are starting to take more steps to acknowledge the past, but I do agree with the congressman that the topic of slavery still makes people uncomfortable. I think the congressman is correct when he says people treat it with benign neglect which I personally dont think is the right way to deal with the issues of our past. As a country I think we need to start talking about the horrors of the past to make amends and actually heal as a country.

  2. Zariah Chiverton Zariah Chiverton

    Do you think if Africans were not the solution to the problem or they were never brought to the Americas, that there would have been another group of oppressed people? I personally think that based on the behaviors of those who imperialized America, that history would not have been far off from what it is now, only with a different group of people.

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