Atonement and Forgiveness: A New Model for Black Reparations

By Roy L. Brooks | Go to book overview

Chapter 2
HARMS TO SLAVES AND FREE BLACKS

Although the use of human beings as domesticated animals reaches back to ancient Mesopotamia, 1 the Atlantic slave trade was not slavery as usual. Initiated by the Portuguese in the fifteenth century, the Atlantic slave trade was a new form of slavery—far more diabolical than that which existed since ancient times, and far more appalling than the intertribal slavery that existed in Africa prior to the European influence. Slavery in the Americas introduced the troubling element of race into the master/slave relationship. For the first time in history, dark skin became the social marker of chattel slavery. And, as a means of justifying this new face—a black face—given to an ancient practice, the slavers and their supporters created a race-specific ideology of condemnation. As I discuss in greater detail in chapter 6, this false rhetoric not only erased the interchangeability of slave and master—the real possibility that a captive might be transformed into kin through marriage or adoption or even become his master's master—from the realm of cultural and political possibility; it also outlasted slavery itself.

The status of the twenty blacks who were put ashore at Jamestown, Virginia, in 1619 by the captain of a Dutch frigate was unclear. Most were indentured servants and were listed as such in the census counts of 1623 and 1624. After their period of service had expired, they were “assigned

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Atonement and Forgiveness: A New Model for Black Reparations
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents *
  • Preface ix
  • Chapter 1 - The Purpose and History of the Black Redress Movement 1
  • Chapter 2 - Harms to Slaves and Free Blacks 20
  • Chapter 3 - Harms to Descendants 36
  • Chapter 4 - The Tort Model 98
  • Chapter 5 - The Atonement Model 141
  • Chapter 6 - Opposing Arguments 180
  • Epilogue 207
  • Appendix 1 - Selected List of Other Atrocities 213
  • Appendix 2 - Summary of the Negotiations That Led to Germany's Foundation Law 218
  • Notes 221
  • Selected Bibliography 273
  • Cases 299
  • Statutes 303
  • Index 307
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