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Black cowboys (wikipedia.org)
48 points by curtis on Aug 11, 2018 | hide | past | favorite | 40 comments



The black explorers were also a very unique bunch. My personal favourite is James Pearson Beckwourth, for which the Beckwourth Pass (California Route 70/former US 40A) is named: http://www.floodgap.com/roadgap/395/u13/


*for whom


Come on now. Don’t be that guy.


FWIW, some of us appreciate the nitpicking, it's a way to learn.


Thanks, it was meant to be helpful.

It's hard to convey that emotion and you're likely to get misunderstood anyway.

So I don't try and sugarcoat it or elaborate on it at all.


We need that guy.


George McJunkin was an African American cowboy, amateur archaeologist and historian in New Mexico.

He made one of the greatest archaeological discoveries in north america, the Folsom site.


25% of the cattle worker industry but you can be sure they weren't represented in popular cultural depictions of cowboys or ranchers. Racial bias goes deeper into America's identity than we like to think.


> [the former slave] died there in 1921, at the age of 67.

From a linked article. Especially as a Britisher, where 100-odd years seems pretty recent, it’s incredible to me that there were slaves so recently in the US.

Somehow that makes it all much more shocking.


From 1936 to 1938, there was a New Deal project that paid underemployed writers to interview still-living former slaves and write down their stories for posterity. Those stories are all available online via the Library of Congress: https://www.loc.gov/collections/slave-narratives-from-the-fe...

Additionally, around six hours’ worth of audio recordings of these interviews survive as well, which means you can hear some of these ex-slaves tell their stories in their own voices. Those recordings are available here: https://memory.loc.gov/ammem/collections/voices/

(Note that there are some important caveats to keep in mind when reading these stories, mostly to do with the fallibility of memory when recalling events 70 years in the past and the distorting effects of presenting black peoples’ stories through the mediation of mostly white writers. It’s still a fascinating resource, but it’s worth keeping these issues in mind as you read it. The LOC has a good rundown of the issues here: https://www.loc.gov/collections/slave-narratives-from-the-fe...)


A book was recently published about a person some consider to be the last enslaved person brought to the US from Africa:

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/barracoon-...

(He died in 1935.)

> 100-odd years seems pretty recent, it’s incredible to me that there were slaves so recently in the US.

That's a taboo line of inquiry in the US. In general, the line is to agree that slavery happened in the very distant past, so the institution cannot possibly affect the present.

Edited to indicate this person was the last enslaved person brought to the US from Africa, not the last enslaved person in the US.


How about 2007, right in New York City, braiding hair? About 21 girls from Ghana were enslaved for that purpose until ICE rescued them. This earned the slave owner about $4 million.

https://www.cnn.com/2010/CRIME/12/02/slave.labor.ring.busted...

The slave trade is also once again booming in Libya.


Yeah, but now, slaves like that actually have a chance to be rescued by a governmental body, whereas this was actually the total reverse prior to The Civil War.

We both know what I mean, when I say "The Civil War" so, I'd expect that we both know what is meant, when saying Slavery.

There are other words for the situation you discuss, and probably Human Traffiking is a better choice of words, when discussing that kind of thing among Americans.


Agree that, when the context is clearly US, this probably needs to be marked modern-day slavery or something, to distinguish.

The problem with human trafficking is that this is frequently used now for the illegal transport of paying customers across a border, which is a different kind of crime.


I feel there is a huge difference between being in a position where the state actively opposes your bondage, because you’re a human in the eyes of the law, and the state seeing you simply as someone else’s property.


fact check: https://www.reddit.com/r/AskHistorians/comments/2xy51z/when_...

The "War Between the States" ended in 1865, so likely the last former slave died in the 1970s.


Of course you're correct! I edited my comment to note that Barracoon is believed to be the last enslaved person brought to the US from Africa.

Wikipedia counts Sylvester Magee as the last living slave:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sylvester_Magee

He died in 1971, as you intuited.


But not before reaching an estimated ripe old age of 130! Wow!

“Sylvester Magee (May 29, 1841? – October 15, 1971)”


I just recently said something like this aloud in a casual conversation with a friend (Ad sales guy in NYC) and, through the awkward exchange that followed realized he thought emancipation was 300+ years ago. Given slavery is the most critical part of our nation’s history, I opted to not disctract with the dates of the revolutionary war.

This from someone from a wealthy family who attended private schools and has an MBA.


Apartheid was the official law of the land up until 60 years or so ago. My father lived under it. America never had a truth and reconciliation period.

I got to see Nelson Mandela speak at Tiger Stadium before I have seen America do anything at all. That sounds a lot more harsh than I mean it to, it's just reality.


I feel like slavery was orders of magnitude worse than Apartheid. Neither is in the least excusable, but still, apartheid was theoretically about separation and discrimination, rather than classing people as property.


I also believe slavery was worse than Apartheid. What do you think about Jim Crow?

EDIT That's a trick question because Jim Crow was Apartheid.


In the absence of land to call home, one is only free when at sea.

And in the absence of a boat to float, one will sink.

Yes, master. I will make due with life on the brink.


Harsh or not - the truth it is. And I predict the current administration will help to bring the truth and reconciliation period to fruition.

Not that they want it.


[dead]


It seems clear that what we've asked you to change about your commenting isn't forthcoming, so we've banned the account. If you'd like to use the site as intended you're welcome to email hn@ycombinator.com and we'll unban the account.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


Slavery still exists in the USA today with mass incarceration. The 13th Amendment, as enacted, reads “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”


Ah, this seems like comparatively a huge reach to me, and I think it does a massive disservice to compare the enslavement of Black Americans to penal servitude, even given the outsized representation of African Americans in the US penal system.


I would recommend reading The New Jim Crow or watching 13th to better understand the argument and comparison being made.


It's the system as it was designed to be. I am surprised that you haven't heard about the prison loophole before. It even gets a powerful scene in the film 'Gone with the Wind'.


I think your argument pretty much ignores a major portion of American history post civil war through at least the 1960’s.


Slavery isn't a thing of the past. There are more slaves in the world now than at any point in the past.


Slavery as a state-sponsored endeavour pretty much is, though.


Does state-sponsorship matter? Also idk if this is true.


In the absence of land to call home, one is only free when at sea.

And in the absence of a boat to float, one will sink.

Yes, master. I will make due with life on the brink.


You DO know that the very word "Slavery" has a very specific meaning here in the United States, yes.

When the word "Slavery" is thrown around in conversation, here in America, in English, it specifically means only one thing, and it only ever means that specific thing. Not unlike "Holocaust" only ever having one meaning.

You can choose to qualify "Nuclear Holocaust" and that will technically mean something else, although even that catches heat, and "Nuclear Armageddon" is preferred, especially by survivors.

So, go ahead and qualify "Cybernetic Slavery" or "Sex Slavery" or some such subgroup thereof, but even then, dilution of the term with qualifiers may still catch some flak.

Probably "bondage" or "indentured servitude" or "traffiking" or "imprisonment" combined with "forced labor" will more accurately describe what you're trying to communicate to American audiences.

When the word "Slavery" is used in America, it only means institutionalized laws endorsed by The U.S. Government, to specifically target Black People and only Black People, and deny them a normal existence among peers.


> You DO know that the very word "Slavery" has a very specific meaning here in the United States, yes.

It might to some people. I consider those people to be somewhat wrong. Slavery has happened for a long time before Atlantic slave trade and didn't end with it.

> Probably "bondage" or "indentured servitude" or "traffiking" or "imprisonment" combined with "forced labor" will more accurately describe what you're trying to communicate to American audiences.

bondage: slavery or involuntary servitude; serfdom (https://www.dictionary.com/browse/bondage)

> When the word "Slavery" is used in America, it only means institutionalized laws endorsed by The U.S. Government, to specifically target Black People and only Black People, and deny them a normal existence among peers.

Ok? Other countries have had slavery until much later (e.g. India until 1970's). What's your point. The reason why American slavery is getting so much attention is due to the clear racial divide between the two classes of people. This somehow makes it more morally reprehensible than other forms of slavery?

There's no trademark on the word "slavery" right? Stop making it seem like there is.


And we now have a..... ahem President.... who wants to MAGA.

Please let me out.


Please keep partisan boilerplate off HN.

Edit: you've broken the site guidelines a lot. Can you please review https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html and follow the rules when posting here?


Some say that former slave Bass Reeves was the model for the Lone Ranger :) I got that from Elizabeth Bear's Karen Memory, which features him.


another thing that I would have never in a million years thought existed, before I learned of it:

https://www.google.com/search?client=ubuntu&channel=fs&q=bot...

apparently botswana has a heavy metal scene? and at least a certain subset takes the apparel part of the metal look very, very seriously.




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