“Reimagining” History: Archives Racism Task Force Finds Rotunda Triggering

We discussed today how the term “triggering” itself can be triggering. Now, it appears that the racism task force for the National Archives has found the Archives themselves are triggering. The task force, created by National Archivist David Ferriero after the protests over the killing of George Floyd, released its report finding that the iconic Rotunda (containing the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and the Bill of Rights) is a symbol of “structural racism” and should be countered with such reforms as staging dancing performances. It also found the emphasis and celebration of the Founders and Framers to be harmful.

For full disclosure, I have spoken repeatedly at the Archives and have long expressed the commonly held view of the Rotunda as one of the most beautiful and powerful spaces in the world.

That is not exactly the take of the Racism Task Force headed by Erica Pearson, Director, Office of Equal Employment Opportunity and Ovnelle Millwood, Director of Workforce Strategy and Analysis. The task force found the Rotunda to be one of three examples of structural racism: “a Rotunda in our flagship building that lauds wealthy White men in the nation’s founding while marginalizing BIPOC, women, and other communities.”  The task force called for “reimagining” the space to be more inclusive.

The report also objects to the laudatory attention given white Framers and Founders, particularly figures like Thomas Jefferson.  They encourage the placement of “trigger warnings” to “forewarn audiences of content that may cause intense physiological and psychological symptoms.”

The task force’s report also calls for changing OurDocuments.gov — the website on American “milestone documents” such as the Constitution and Declaration of Independence.  — to be less celebratory of historically impactful Americans, such as former President Thomas Jefferson.

“To address over-description in the short term, NARA should fully reassess the content of OurDocuments.gov, Docsteach.org, and other NARA online content and rewrite or discard material where necessary. OurDocuments.gov features transcripts and historical context of “100 milestone documents of American history” but often uses adulatory and excessive language to document the historical contributions of White, wealthy men. For example, a search of Thomas Jefferson in OurDocuments.gov brings up 24 results. He is described in this sample lesson plan as a ‘visionary’ who took ‘vigorous action’ to strengthen the “will of the nation to expand westward.” The plan does not mention that [Jefferson’s] policy of westward expansion forced Native Americans off their ancestral land, encouraged ongoing colonial violence, and laid the groundwork for further atrocities like the Trail of Tears. By comparison, searching Harriet Tubman returns one result. The only sentence in which she appears notably lacks the reverence found in the document about Jefferson. It describes the role of Black women in the Civil War, ‘the most famous being Harriet Tubman, who scouted for the 2nd South Carolina Volunteers.’”

Language must also be corrected:

“By racist language, the ADS means not only explicitly harmful terms, such as racial slurs, but also information that implies and reinforces damaging stereotypes of BIPOC individuals and communities while valorizing and protecting White people. Descriptive terminology cannot be divorced from its context. The ADS also recognizes that racist language is only one type of harmful language and that oppressive systems do not exist in a vacuum. The subgroup therefore calls on NARA to address sexist, homophobic, ableist, etc., language in archival descriptions and related policies and practices. NARA will only succeed in dismantling oppressive systems if we acknowledge their complex, overlapping nature and the cumulative harm they cause to marginalized communities.”

Even the famous murals are now considered triggering:

Murals The National Archives should consider options to address the problems presented by the Faulkner murals. While these massive paintings are historically significant and loved by many, others find them oppressive and exclusionary. “The murals,” said one respondent to the Museum Subgroup’s survey, are “an homage to White America.” One possibility is to commission additional murals for the walls in the Rotunda Gallery. Another is to stage dance or performance art in the space that invites dialogue about the ways that the United States has mythologized the founding era.

I am particularly concerned about “reimagining” the Rotunda.  “Reimagining” has become the over-used term for any wholesale reform from “reimagining policing” through defunding to “reimagining the Supreme Court” through packing. It is hard to oppose “reimagining” anything without sounding defensive or, perish the thought, unimaginative.

Yes, the Founders and Framers were overwhelmingly white. We also do celebrate their brilliance in the creation of these foundational documents for freedom. That does not mean that we do not recognize countervailing elements in their histories, particularly when it comes to slavery.  It also does not mean that the document lived up to its ideals given the enslavement of millions. However, those documents allowed us to address the scourge of slavery and to address so many of our failings. The Rotunda is a celebration of these foundational documents not some zero sum contest for what groups will now be represented in this relatively small space. This is not an “homage to White America” but an homage to the founding documents of one of the oldest and most successful democracies in the history of the world.

The concern is that there will be little real debate over some of these proposals. No one wants to be viewed as racially unimaginative or, worse, racially insensitive. The task force itself does not include countervailing views on these issues.  It takes a great deal of courage to raise a dissenting voice on such issues. We have seen academics subject to campaigns for termination after questioning reforms. The lack of attention to the report when it was released in April is itself concerning. These reports can go unchallenged and move into implementation without serious debate or discussion.

It is unlikely that many will object at the risk of their own careers. We have been discussing efforts to fire professors who voice dissenting views on various issues including an effort to oust a leading economist from the University of Chicago as well as a leading linguistics professor at Harvard and a literature professor at Penn. The cancel culture has also extended to museumsbook publishers, and other forums for intellectual exchanges. Now the esteemed Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) fired podcast host and deputy editor Dr. Edward Livingston, who raised his own concerns and doubts in a podcast over claims of structural racism. That fallout at JAMA has continued with the recent departure of the editor of the fame publication.

I agree with the task force that it is important to contextualize our historic figures and to augment our historical presentations to be more inclusive of figures like Tubman. However, the Rotunda is designed as a reverent space for our founding documents.  It does not require reimagination to understand the power and significance of those documents.

I can also understand the preference for more diverse murals to reflect the diversity of our nation and its roots in many cultures, including our Native American culture. However, the murals by artist Barry Faulkner depict the writing and adoption of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States. The signers of these documents were clearly non-diverse but the murals capture the historical creation of the documents on display. They are almost 100 years old and have become an indelible part of the Rotunda. The Rotunda has a defined and confined purpose of focusing on the documents that laid the foundation for this representative democracy. It should not become the latest battleground for our contemporary divisions and controversies.

87 thoughts on ““Reimagining” History: Archives Racism Task Force Finds Rotunda Triggering”

  1. (music to tune of Dance To The Music)
    Celebrate! Celebrate!
    Dance to Jefferson!
    If you won’t dance from him…
    Go on down home!

  2. You watch. As Leftist propaganda gains steam, Americans will throw away their freedoms and their blessings away with both hands. Unless you’re a drug addict on the sidewalk, our poor live better than the middle class in most places in the world. We have an obesity problem, not a starvation problem.

    The Left can fix that. It will enact a government ruling class of a single party state. Political dissent will not be tolerated. Social credit will be racially based, except for Liberal elites. Until the day it is applied to them, too. And that includes Hollywood. One day, we’ll be digging in dumpsters and fighting (again) over toilet paper, without reliable electricity, and with a nationwide hunger problem. The Left will still blame conservatives, even though they will have gotten everything they frighted for.

  3. I get very tired of a sanctimonious “woke,” “politically correct” gang assuming their great moral superiority not only to people in the present who do not agree with them, but in their incredible arrogance and narcissism, judging everyone in the past as inferior to themselves. Tell me, what gave these self-anointed moral thought police the inside track? Anyone who has lived a little and gained a little maturity understands the limits of our specious and every changing personal opinions. People who want to throw rocks at icons of the past simply reveal their own self-righteousness. They are completely without the slightest micron of humility. And humility, understanding the limits of one’s own mind and capacity for judgment, is something completely absent among the “woke” crowd. With no humility, they are a bunch of narcissists completely lacking in wisdom.

  4. The Truth About CRT (in a nutshell)

    CRT’s promoters claim that critical race theory is *not* being taught in K-12 schools.

    Except, of course, for countless K-12 school districts in WI, MI, NY, VA, ID, NC, CA, NV, NJ, etc., etc.

    To illustrate, yet again, how dishonest CRT proponents are: They claim that they are not teaching the *theory* of CRT to grade schoolers. Technically speaking, that is correct. They are merely teaching the *tenets* of CRT.

    CRT’s defenders allege that the theory does *not* advocate judging a person’s by skin color.

    That is patently false.

    CRT is a racist ideology masquerading as “anti-racism.” Shorn of its obfuscations and nonsensical academic jargon, CRT boils down to this: An individual’s identity and value are determined by his racial group. (It’s a racial version of collectivism.) On this view, if you are black, you have been oppressed by white, “systemic racism.” If you are white, you are guilty of “systemic racism.”

    Thus, blacks deserve special favors, e.g., reparations, et al. And whites deserve to be punished, e.g., by paying those reparations, by suffering unearned guilt, et al. Blood guilt and blood punishment, CRT’s stock in trade, is racism.

    The first clue in understanding the essence of CRT is *not* the word “race.” It’s the word “critical.” In the context of academia, that word’s meaning comes from deconstructionism and postmodernism — the irrational idea that one is “free” to interpret anything according to one’s feelings and desires. The plain meaning of a text, historical facts, arguments and objectivity — they’re all to be damned.

    CRT proponents picked up on the “critical,” and said: Great! Let’s reinterpret America — its documents, history, law, economic system, values, statutes, (everything “American”) — through the lens of race. If meaning and interpretation are deuces wild, then we declare race to be wild.

    America is in this cauldron of racism fundamentally because academia rejected objectivity. Ultimately, the only way out is to embrace that noble concept.

  5. We are under attack. People need to start waking up before we become Cuba or Venezuela. They will erase our history to destroy our way of life. All of what has been going on for the last years have all the earmarks of Marxist indoctrination. My family experienced it in Cuba. Prove me wrong

  6. Since history, gender, and race are now considered social constructions, why not “reimagine” the founding scenes with new characters? Perhaps our current historians have it wrong and the murals do not accurately depict the participants. Since we are free to judge people’s words and actions from 200 years ago by the puritanical morality of today, why should we limit our selves to a projection of modern morality on scenes from 200 years ago? Perhaps there would there be fewer “trigger” episodes in the rotunda if the murals depicted the scene of the issuance of founding documents with participants that look like those that participate in modern American democracy? Then citizens could relate to the founding a bit more. Detractors might object that such a depiction would be such a departure from historical records as to be factually inaccurate. But this is all about mythologizing the founding of the republic and besides, no one history is correct so we may as well make history as we want it to be.

  7. Thank God for the “wealthy white” men who were Framers and Founders! Otherwise … we would be awaiting a visit from the Queen.

  8. Sign on the door to the place is needed. Nitwits Don’t Come In!

  9. More crap to fire up the base and keep them pissed off. The point of discussion about the Rotunda is that some black people see the murals as celebrating wealthy white males and giving no credit to anyone who wasn’t white or male for the history of this country. Of course, even though the Constitution said that “all MEN are created equal”, it didn’t really mean that. That’s the point to the concern. if you are black, you might look at the murals and say to yourself that no one of your race played any role in the history of this country, and that the only white people who counted were the wealthy ones. That’s the point, but keep throwing that red meat.

    1. I nominate Antonio Johnson as a Black Man who can represent a major contribution to American History made by a Black man.
      Oh wait, never mind. This is about reimagining real history into delusion, not fact. Never mind.

    2. Without the documents calling for freedom that were written by the men depicted in the Rotunda, slavery would most likely still be alive in America today. Think not? Consider China. Freedom and equality are still not the norm around the world. Even Canada has laws that control speech. These men knew that if England were to maintain control of the colonies they were putting the evidence on paper that would lead to their hanging. Because of their bravery we can speak freely and we have a defense against government intrusion. They literally put their lives on the line. Natacha thinks that freedom just appears out of thin air. Professor Turley, when your distributing your red meat make mine raw.

    3. Natacha, it is called history. It is to be learned from. If you are Black my guess is that you understand the times and appreciate the progress that has been made since the mural was first exhibited. The work is far from done. I contend the the real racists are the liberals who think that Blacks can’t use the Internet or get an I.D. to vote. The racism of low expectations. Malcom X was right . The biggest enemy of the Black people are the white liberals.

  10. Without the documents displayed in the Rotunda would slavery have ever come to an end? Without a deceleration that all men are created equal would the 1964 Civil Rights Act have ever been written? There are still nations today where the declaration of such thoughts would be seriously punished. Our nation has not always lived up to the promises made in these documents but the values expressed and the writers who expressed them have been nothing short of a beacon of hope to the world. Without these documents slavery would still exist in this nation as it does in other nations of the world. None of our leaders both present and past on the left and the right possessed the purity of Jesus Christ. What we have to ask ourselves is if the ideas of the founders have been the foundation that provided the freedoms that we have today. If we declare that the founders are to be considered evil men it must follow that the documents they left behind are part of their evil nature and must then be discarded. A more contemporary example would be Mein Kampf. It has taken time but this is a nation that was formed by the founding fathers and because of these men we have a chance of becoming more of a nation that is a land of the free and the home of the brave.

  11. I’m watching an old tv show on one of the streaming online services and I see a commercial from Target telling me its “opening the door to more Black Business”. Their words not mine. I sit there wondering, what about Asian businesses? How do they rank at the door? Or American Indian, or India Indian, or how about Latino businesses? And I guess I shouldn’t even wonder about white business. Especially white middle aged male owned business. They show us a couple of happy black ladies, laughing and loving their business. I wait for the next commercial. Its my insurance company, showing me some black lady with a clump of molten lava in her yoga studio, and she’s very happy. Next commercial comes on and its the phone company. They’re showing me a bunch of different people, a very effeminate looking young man in skinny jeans who appears to be wearing makeup, and I don’t mean pancake, a lot of somewhat overweight women of various ethnicities opining over their broken phones. I don’t see any white men. Definitely no middle aged white men. Later on the next commercial break I see a credit card company showing me how it finances this black women’s business, she appears very muscular, wearing a sleeveless tops tool belt and hard hat holding a cordless drill. I see commercials where they finally show a white husband, with a black or asian wife and invariably the husband is soft, passive, in the subordinate position to the female in the commercial.

    None of these commercials by themselves would bother beyond the usual bother of having to watch some clueless halfwits running around in circles until their phone, credit card or insurance company tells them what to do. I usually turn the volume down anyway. But the noteworthy part is the fact that these constitute ALL the commercials I am seeing, and have been seeing since the Floyd protests began.

    I won’t even begin to go into defending myself as not racist as even doing so allows the current anti-racism mobs to leverage anything you say as racist. Anything that isn’t deprecating yourself and your forefathers and history and exalting theirs is condemned as heresy and the speaker attacked. And I know I’m opening myself to it by even daring to comment on it. So while I am hard on you Professor and hold you to a higher standard, I also don’t ignore when you step up and speak the plain truth when its not so safe to do so. And being I’d not expect my for want of a better word, hero’s to do anything I wouldn’t do myself, I won’t be 100 percent silent as I watch the stampede towards the cliff that the media and yes the liberals are pushing us towards. As a white, sexagenarian blue collar male, it is impossible to not hear the things being spoken about me (the demographic not me personally) without some sense of alarm. After all its being said everyone like me is the problem. The industries and businesses are telling me that black women are their only real focus now. Asian women following them and trailing behind in the adult section are the doting dolt sedentary husbands who know how to do what they’re told and are careful to never act like men. When and if an actual male figure is permitted, one who apparently still has some residual testosterone in his system, he’s always over the top “showbiz” masculine and is always still subordinate to the strong feminine lead. And for even lamenting these developments, I risk being labeled racist, misogynist, etc. But here’s the problem. Here’s what they are missing, and what Professor Turley is trying to help them understand.

    Its the “first they came” syndrome. It isn’t about who the target is. Its that we allow there to be a target, at all.

    So its pretty funny right now to laugh at guys like me, middle aged white guys who according to what people are calling the cancel culture, although I refuse to use that term more than once as I despise marketed catch phrases designed to fuel partisanship, but that’s who they are and they will laugh at any observations inferring caution from guys like me claiming its just a bunch of white boomers afraid of losing their white privilege. But its a diversionary taunt, to keep the division going. And to obscure the fact that these “anti-racism” movements don’t actually combat racism at all but instead fuel it.

    To be a black man in a white community in America means having a sort of target on you. Its 100 percent true black men have been disproportionately targeted by business, law enforcement, govt, etc. and stopping it is crucial to both a healthy and a moral society. But these anti racism movements don’t remove the target. They just repoint it/ At another demographic. The one they identify as “the problem”. So instead of combatting racism, they drive the wedge deeper by demonizing the “other side” whoever that side is, in this case white America primarily white American men, especially conservative or blue collar men, which in turn paints targets on them for the next generation to racially oppress. As you often point out with numerous examples, there are black educators and public figures cheering on the idea of oppressing whites. Sure its just talk, for now. But what do you think kids growing up in this era, hearing that day in day out, seeing commercials and TV shows that place white men in a less than appealing light, constant deluge of information coming at them implying that good people are ethnic and white people are bad, … what do you think will happen as they people grow up and take positions of authority, power and influence? And how long before we have to read in the news that a little white boy was beaten and killed by an angry mob of other kids because they see white people as the cause of all evil? And how many white kids are going to suffer depression and even mental illness or suicide by growing up in an America that tells them their parents and grandparents and great grand parents, were no good. Its a lie. They were good. Very good. Not all of them, but so many of them. That they were not perfect, or had flawed concepts particularly those reinforced by the time period in which they lived, in no way diminishes their efforts, accomplishments sacrifices or achievements.

    My father never knew any white privilege. He served at Ft Myer as a Military policeman during WWII. Then he went home, worked as a tree climber\cutter in upstate NY, then after breaking his leg up to the hip, became a master carpenter for 40 years before cutting 3 of his fingers off on a table saw and losing his retirement and pension along with his job at 64. Didn’t see any white privilege coming my Dad’s way. He got up for work every morning at 5:30, 5 days a week and he almost never missed a days work in all those decades. Me, I’m about to turn 61 I am still waiting to see my privilege. And when some ditzy headed kid who can’t change a tire wants to “teach me” how I have not “noticed” all my white privilege, well… I just wanna put em to work. Gimme a day with them…. then we can have the privilege discussion.

    Some people are always going to be racist and judge the person standing before them on their skin color or ethnicity, and you can’t change that. You can address it when it happens but you can’t legislate how people think. And when you try to, by congressional dictate or industry and corporate pressure, then all you do is stampede the herd in another direction. And then some other demographic gets run over.

    1. When Target announced it would mark some of its merchandise as coming from a “black”/African American business (whatever that is), So .. I quit shopping at Target. IT NEVER had a campaign to support “made in the USA” merchandise, but it would pander to those who would loot and burn its stores during the riots that followed Memorial Day 2020 in Minneapolis. Ditto for any corporation that spends its earnings, not on shareholders and employees, but on print and broadcast advertising, corporate campaigns, contributions to SOME-black-lives-mattr-SOMETIMES groups, boycotts of localities or states, etc. (When I learned that AmEx was attacking GA and supported moving the All Star Game, I closed a substantial account with it! Ditto when Goldman Sachs touted its contributions to BLM in June 2020.) ETC ETC

      1. tt1970: Good for you! It’s uplifting to know that there are individuals willing to put their money where their mouth is.

        I stopped buying Coke products and being a Lakers fan, for the same reasons.

  12. I wonder at what point the Jews in 1930’s and 40’s Germany finally realized from what was happening around them and to them that they were at the point of no return and there was nothing they could do to save themselves.
    I also wonder at what point the American People are going to realize that they are repeating those catastrophic historical mistakes and if we too will miss the last opportunity to do anything to save ourselves.
    We seem so hellbent on preserving our self image of genteel righteousness that we are protecting the Rights, freedoms and sensibilities of those completely committed to exterminating ours and therefore contributing to their success in that endeavor, while eradicating our own. It took almost 2 decades to get the Jews onto the boxcars and into the ovens and like the current political climate in America, they were given clues and told outright what was going to be done to them nearly every step of the way.
    And still their minds could not grasp that level of evil would ever really manifest, so most never formulated in their minds plans or actually took actions to stop it.
    For all of you who have ever watched  the documentaries of Nazi Germany with films and pictures of Jews being rounded up and beaten in the streets, Jews being piled into box cars and sent off the concentration camps, Jews being sorted into slave labor, fertilizer and lampshade categories, Jews being gassed and burned, mountains of rubbery bloated decomposing Jewish carcasses piled up, being raked through by fluid covered ghouls and “processed”, Jews being bulldozed into mass graves, Jews being rounded up and shot in the streets or shot standing over mass graves then falling in and being covered whether dead or not, lamp shades made of Jewish skin proudly displayed on Nazi officials desks and in their homes with their children standing around giggling, singing and decorating Christmas trees by the light of those lamps, photos of Nazi’s laughing and playing and picnicing with their girlfriends while acrid smoke drifted from smoke stacks in the background and wondered in stunned sickened silence
    “How in God’s Holy Name could any country, any society, any human being support, facilitate, participate in and let this happen?”
    Now you know.
    The more we do to you,the less you seem to believe we are doing it.
    – Joseph Mengele

  13. A million words can not belie the fact that Mugabe would be so proud of the open season on whitey in America today. And to think it was our very own first half black potus who ushered into America reverse racism sold as racism.
    But all this aside, if you don’t have to be a citizen to receive benefits or vote… what’s your vote or citizenship worth?

    1. Thank you for pointing out that Obama was half-black. If it weren’t for ‘whitey’, he wouldn’t exist at all. This is all madness.

      1. Obama all but ignored the fact that his mother was “white” – as were her parents who cared for him. He only made his mother an issue (in obama care campaigns) when an illness and medical bills made her useful to him. The fact that his sperm donor was from Africa was all that he needed from a political standpoint.

  14. You know they won’t be satisfied until the Rotunda is filled with George Floyd statues.

    They should highlight his contributions to American culture.

    One should show him shoving a pistol into the stomach of a pregnant woman he was robbing. I am sure other ideas, many of them, could emerge from his lengthy criminal record.

    Meanwhile, the incredibly ugly George Floyd sculpture [reminds me of some scifi movie; can’t recall which] has been vandalized and that is being treated as a ‘hate crime’. I didn’t know one could offend the sensibilities of a sculpture.

    For some reason the vandalism of prominent white Americans who were not criminals is never treated as a hate crime. I wonder why that is?

  15. There is no end to it until there is an end to America. How sad. How frightening.

  16. These wretchedly monomaniacal not-too-bright folks almost guarantee a GOP win in 2024.

  17. What did the animals in North American think when the humans came over from India?

  18. It is apparent that the “report” of this group is a report produced by racists. They are among today’s racists – those who view everything (including history and the art that depicts history) in terms of “color.” It is simply disgusting to think adults affiliated with the National Archives propose warnings be placed near artwork or exhibits so that some other racists don’t become physically or mentally ill looking at history!! At one time, slavery was a fact throughout the world; that is history and in the past. Today, slavery is still a fact of life with the most notable being Communist China, Russia and parts of Africa. So … National Archive people: take on a present day crusade where slavery still exists and look to the future in the USA where no one needs to be a victim (except in their minds).


    Subtitle: Life is Messy.

    “The task force, created by National Archivist David Ferriero after the protests over the killing of George Floyd,”

    – Professor Turley

    Let’s start with the facts.

    The decedent in Minneapolis Police Department response on May 25, 2020, and the political show trial of the Great American, Derek Chauvin, who had courageously dedicated a career to holding the line against evil to protect and serve society, was not killed, but died of his own self-abuse, including long-term, heavy, harmful and terminal drug abuse.

    George Floyd’s Criminal Past

    – George Floyd moved to Minneapolis in 2014 after being released from prison in Houston, Texas following an arrest for aggravated robbery

    – In May 25, 2020, Floyd was arrested for passing a counterfeit $20 bill at a grocery store in Minneapolis

    – He was under the influence of fentanyl and methamphetamine at the time of arrest

    – Floyd has more than a decade-old criminal history at the time of the arrest and went to jail for at least 5 times

    – George Floyd was the ringleader of a violent home invasion

    – He plead guilty to entering a woman’s home, pointing a gun at her stomach and searching the home for drugs and money, according to court records

    – Floyd was sentenced to 10 months in state jail for possession of cocaine in a December 2005 arrest

    – He had previously been sentenced to eight months for the same offense, stemming from an October 2002 arrest

    – Floyd was arrested in 2002 for criminal trespassing and served 30 days in jail

    – He had another stint for a theft in August 1998

    “About a year before George Floyd was killed in a deadly arrest by Minneapolis police officers last May, he had a different encounter with police in which he also became distressed as an officer pointed a gun at him and ordered him out of a car.”

    “In the May 6, 2019 arrest, a panicked Floyd swallowed several opioid pain-killer pills as police approached and was later treated at a hospital. Eric Nelson, Chauvin’s lead lawyer, has argued that the main cause of Floyd’s death a year later, which was ruled a homicide, was the opioid fentanyl found in his blood at autopsy.”

    – Reuters

    “The similarities are incredible, it’s the exact same behavior in two incidents almost exactly one year apart,” Nelson told the court, noting Floyd called out for his “mama” in both arrests, according to video footage.

    “This is what’s called a Speedball – a mixture of an opioid and a stimulant.”

    “The evidence will show that Mr. Floyd died of a cardiac arrhythmia that occurred a result of hypertension, his coronary disease, ingestion of methamphetamine and fentanyl, and the adrenaline flowing through his body.”

    – Defense Attorney

    Slavery was an extremely facile and lucrative African enterprise. Slavery became a British institution having little or nothing to do with most Americans. Slavery began with African tribal chiefs who abducted their own people and sold them to Arab slave traders who sold them, in turn, to British shippers who, ultimately, sold them to British planters in the British West Indies. British slavery was a pivotal economic holdover which the 1% of Americans who owned slaves began planning to eliminate as early as 1714.*

    “Most Southerners owned no slaves…fewer than 1 percent owning more than one hundred.”

    – Economic History, EH.net


    Earlier Resettlement Plans

    The view that America’s apparently intractable racial problem should be solved by removing Blacks from this country and resettling them elsewhere — “colonization” or “repatriation” — was not a new one. As early as 1714 a New Jersey man proposed sending Blacks to Africa. In 1777 a Virginia legislature committee, headed by future President Thomas Jefferson (himself a major slave owner), proposed a plan of gradual emancipation and resettlement of the state’s slaves. In 1815, an enterprising free Black from Massachusetts named Paul Cuffe transported, at his own expense, 38 free blacks to West Africa. His undertaking showed that at least some free Blacks were eager to resettle in a country of their own, and suggested what might be possible with public and even government support.7

    In December 1816, a group of distinguished Americans met in Washington, DC, to establish an organization to promote the cause of Black resettlement. The “American Colonization Society” soon won backing from some of the young nation’s most prominent citizens. Henry Clay, Francis Scott Key, John Randolph, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, Bushrod Washington, Charles Carroll, Millard Fillmore, John Marshall, Roger B. Taney, Andrew Jackson, Daniel Webster, Stephen A. Douglas, and Abraham Lincoln were members. Clay presided at the group’s first meeting.8

    Measures to resettle Blacks in Africa were soon undertaken. Society member Charles Fenton Mercer played an important role in getting Congress to pass the Anti-Slave Trading Act of March 1819, which appropriated $100,000 to transport Blacks to Africa. In enforcing the Act, Mercer suggested to President James Monroe that if Blacks were simply returned to the coast of Africa and released, they would probably be re-enslaved, and possibly some returned to the United States. Accordingly, and in cooperation with the Society, Monroe sent agents to acquire territory on Africa’s West coast — a step that led to the founding of the country now known as Liberia. Its capital city was named Monrovia in honor of the American President.9

    With crucial Society backing, Black settlers began arriving from the United States in 1822. While only free Blacks were at first brought over, after 1827, slaves were freed expressly for the purpose of transporting them to Liberia. In 1847, Black settlers declared Liberia an independent republic, with an American-style flag and constitution.10

    By 1832 the legislatures of more than a dozen states (at that time there were only 24), had given official approval to the Society, including at least three slave-holding states.11 Indiana’s legislature, for example, passed the following joint resolution on January 16, 1850:12

    Be it resolved by the General Assembly of the State of Indiana: That our Senators and Representatives in Congress be, and they are hereby requested, in the name of the State of Indiana, to call for a change of national policy on the subject of the African Slave Trade, and that they require a settlement of the coast of Africa with colored men from the United States, and procure such changes in our relations with England as will permit us to transport colored men from this country to Africa, with whom to effect said settlement.

    In January 1858, Missouri Congressman Francis P. Blair, Jr., introduced a resolution in the House of Representatives to set up a committee

    to inquire into the expediency of providing for the acquisition of territory either in the Central or South American states, to be colonized with colored persons from the United States who are now free, or who may hereafter become free, and who may be willing to settle in such territory as a dependency of the United States, with ample guarantees of their personal and political rights.

    Blair, quoting Thomas Jefferson, stated that Blacks could never be accepted as the equals of Whites, and, consequently, urged support for a dual policy of emancipation and deportation, similar to Spain’s expulsion of the Moors. Blair went on to argue that the territory acquired for the purpose would also serve as a bulwark against any further encroachment by England in the Central and South American regions.13

    – Robert Morgan

    1. According to the 1860 Census there were 393,975 slave owners in the United States out of a total population of 31,183,582, or put in perspective 1.26 percent of the population owned slaves.

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