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Blacks Were SLAVES

Updated on May 14, 2011

Brutality should never be forgotten

A Slave's back.
A Slave's back.
The Governor
The Governor

Slavery is very real to me

One night I was in a wine bar having dinner when a guy I know to be racist made some statements that he thought would get my attention. He said that the State of California had given taken from him President’s Day and given him Cesar Chavez Day and Martin Luther King’s birthday instead. Obviously, that is a lie because I work for the state and we still celebrate President’s Day and no one has ever given me Cesar Chavez Day off. However, it illustrates the new revisionist’s attitude of people such as Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell who declared, recently, that April was Confederate History Month. Several Southern governors have done this, but none have ever made the gaffe that McDonnell made. He did not mention slavery in his proclamation because he said it was insignificant in Virginia history. There is a new movement afoot to deny the evils of slavery as a cause for the Civil War. They want to deny the history of my ancestors as if it never happened. It makes me sad, but what it really does is cut me to my core.

After my daughter was born, I thought that I would like to provide her with her heritage in written from. She is African, we believe Cherokee, and Guatemalan of Spanish heritage. It really came home to me when started looking on the web for information about slaves in East Texas. It took me about an hour to come upon this narrative by my great-great-great uncle, Abe Bean, where he describes his life as a slave during the Civil War.

He talks about his master and then he mentions his father, Phil Bean, who happens to have the same name as my grandfather. I plugged the information he gave into and anyone who knows about this site knows about the little green leaves that lead you to other people in my family. I was able to go back to 1870, which is the first census where my Grandfather Phil Bean was able to give his name and the name of his children. Sure enough, there was Abe, the youngest. My grandfather gave his year of birth as 1830. Abe reports that he belonged, most likely a Cherokee, named Jack Bean. As far as I can surmise, Jack traveled with my Grandfather from Jasper, Tx to the small towns around East Texas and Louisiana. He had two families, one in Jasper and one in Woodville. My great grandfather, who was also named Phil was an adult when the war ended. However, before 1870, my grandfather is just a number who is counted as 3/5 of a human being. I cannot pinpoint him among the many slaves that Jack Bean owned. That is where my trail ends for the African-American side of my family. To complete my task, I am going to have to do my daughter’s and my DNA.

My Uncle Abe talks in his narrative about how one of his master’s twin sons dies in the war and I understand the tragedy that is war. However, it amazes me that in this day and age people can try and deny the importance of slavery in American history. I bet if Mr. Mcdonnell looks up his family history, he can follow it back to the old countries of Europe. His children will always have that ability. For my daughter, there are no such records because her ancestors were brought here on ships as chattel property and bought and sold for over 400 year. In my lifetime, we had to fight for the right to be equal in a country that we have fought and died for.

Slavery is a very personal matter to me as it is to most African Americans. Denying our history is apart of American history though and we understand that. It has allowed us to be brutalized and marginalized for centuries. The denial of our humanity has always been justified in one manner or another. Mcdonnell is just carrying on that legacy and no apology will ever fix that.


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    • Hummingbird5356 profile image


      8 years ago

      White Americans have no right to say that Black Americans have no place in the US. Your ancestors did not ask to be dragged away from their lives in their home lands.

      You cannot go and take someone from another place and then blame them for being there.

      That is what seems to have always happened in America. It is a form of madness.

      It must be very hard not to be able to trace your family tree back as far as you want to go.

      A very good hub.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      A part of this legacy is people denying their own ancestry. My grandmother was ashamed to be part Cherokee Indian. She rewrote her own history.

      For McDonnell to say that slavery was "insignificant in Virginia history" is laughable.

    • LRCBlogger profile image


      8 years ago

      Very nice hub, nothing is more important than truth. Despite efforts by McDonnell and others to rewrite history, we all know that facts are stubborn.

    • terced ojos profile image

      terced ojos 

      8 years ago from

      Brotha, Brotha, Brotha....they just don't know because they don't want to know.

      They want black people to just shut up and stop reminding them of their evil. Even though they are perpetrating many of the very same evils against our people everyday.

      It was just yesterday that you or I couldn't sit on the front of a bus or look at a white woman without the threat of death.

      In some places in the country this still exists.

      Our judicial system unfairly prosecutes us.

      I'm supposed to act like everything is all good when whites keep making me feel in overt and subtle ways that something is wrong with me and people who look like me.

      Fight the Power Brotha...Fight the Power.

    • Joshua Kell profile image

      Levi Joshua Kell 

      8 years ago from Arizona

      Damn! That broke my heart. My family has been persicuted also (we are dirty Jews). The pictures and your story really bring home the message. I am sorry that human beings can still act in this manner. Sorry, may Yahshua bless you through your suffering. Don't hang on to pain. Spread your wings and fly; I promise I won't slow you down.

    • William R. Wilson profile image

      William R. Wilson 

      8 years ago from Knoxville, TN

      There is definitely a movement to revise history and cover up the evil. Good hub.

    • mintinfo profile image


      8 years ago

      Great hub. Keep chopping through the ignorance. Unattended it builds quickly like weeds and binds the minds of weak.

    • Challah1202 profile image


      8 years ago from Chandler, TX

      This is an excellent answer to those who would deny your family heritage. Of course, you have a right to express your feelins about the Civil War.

      One thing I wish we could change is the fragmentation of our population by labels. I consider all of us who were born in this country and those who have been naturalized to be Americans. That is not to deny your heritage or history, but I claim the right to enjoy the accomplishments and achievements of all the people who contribute to this country in a positive way as Americans.

      I pray this is not contrary to what you are trying to say. I certainly don't disagree with you. Maybe in this century we can take another step.

    • thevoice profile image


      8 years ago from carthage ill

      from the voice God Jesus the holy spirit much sorrow will not stop until all people are free with peace human rights needs dignity thanks

    • thevoice profile image


      8 years ago from carthage ill

      terrific write this will never come again thanks


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