Friday, October 29, 2010

Latest Reading

White Cargo, The Forgotten History of Britain's White Slaves in America, by Don Jordan and Michael Walsh, New York University Press, New York, 2008. Indentured Servitude was never quite the mild contractural obligation that our high school history books told us. Many, if not most of them died, and often as not they were kidnapped, convicts, or poor homeless people "spirited" away to hard work and an early death in America. Before black racial slavery there was white slavery and this well documented work reveals the awful truth that Great Britain used the American colonies as a dumping ground for the people it did not want. Focusing primarily on the Chesapeake Bay area of Maryland and Virginia, it uses historical records including court cases and newspapers, to paint a grim picture of early America we are not usually shown. From Smith Island's Henry Smith, murderer and rapist, to other colonial moneyed men and even a former indentured servant, an African who made one of his own black slaves the first black to be forced to serve, not for a fixed period of time, but for life. This is a very interesting book and one I highly recommend to the history nut. ...More

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