Never Forget. This Was Part Of Our History

April 24, 2014 | 37 Comments » | Topics: Hall Of Fame, TRUTH

A black Union soldier sits, posted in front of a slave auction house on Whitehall Street in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1864


Copy of original bill of sale for slaves, in Charleston, South Carolina


A group of men posing in front of Lynch’s Slave Market, St. Louis, Missouri, 1852

Scars of a whipped slave April 2, 1863, Baton Rouge, Louisiana


How to fit 454 slaves on a ship 

Price of a slave in 1800’s

Escaped slaves, ca. 1862

This man, Renty, was an African-born slave owned by B.F. Taylor from Columbia, South Carolina when this portrait was taken in 1850

Rescued east African slaves aboard HMS Daphne, a British Royal Navy vessel involved in anti-slave trade activities in the Indian Ocean

Harriet Tubman with rescued slaves- Auburn, NY, circa 1887


Ex-slaves attend reunion convention. Washington D.C. – October, 1916

88-year-old Mrs. Sally Fickland, a former slave, looking at the Emancipation Proclamation in 1947, which was signed when she was 3


To My Old Master: A former slave’s letter in response to his old master’s request to work for him again

Dayton, Ohio, 

August 7, 1865

To My Old Master, Colonel P.H. Anderson, Big Spring, Tennessee

Sir: I got your letter, and was glad to find that you had not forgotten Jourdon, and that you wanted me to come back and live with you again, promising to do better for me than anybody else can. I have often felt uneasy about you. I thought the Yankees would have hung you long before this, for harboring Rebs they found at your house. I suppose they never heard about your going to Colonel Martin’s to kill the Union soldier that was left by his company in their stable. Although you shot at me twice before I left you, I did not want to hear of your being hurt, and am glad you are still living. It would do me good to go back to the dear old home again, and see Miss Mary and Miss Martha and Allen, Esther, Green, and Lee. Give my love to them all, and tell them I hope we will meet in the better world, if not in this. I would have gone back to see you all when I was working in the Nashville Hospital, but one of the neighbors told me that Henry intended to shoot me if he ever got a chance.

I want to know particularly what the good chance is you propose to give me. I am doing tolerably well here. I get twenty-five dollars a month, with victuals and clothing; have a comfortable home for Mandy,—the folks call her Mrs. Anderson,—and the children—Milly, Jane, and Grundy—go to school and are learning well. The teacher says Grundy has a head for a preacher. They go to Sunday school, and Mandy and me attend church regularly. We are kindly treated. Sometimes we overhear others saying, “Them colored people were slaves” down in Tennessee. The children feel hurt when they hear such remarks; but I tell them it was no disgrace in Tennessee to belong to Colonel Anderson. Many darkeys would have been proud, as I used to be, to call you master. Now if you will write and say what wages you will give me, I will be better able to decide whether it would be to my advantage to move back again.

As to my freedom, which you say I can have, there is nothing to be gained on that score, as I got my free papers in 1864 from the Provost-Marshal-General of the Department of Nashville. Mandy says she would be afraid to go back without some proof that you were disposed to treat us justly and kindly; and we have concluded to test your sincerity by asking you to send us our wages for the time we served you. This will make us forget and forgive old scores, and rely on your justice and friendship in the future. I served you faithfully for thirty-two years, and Mandy twenty years. At twenty-five dollars a month for me, and two dollars a week for Mandy, our earnings would amount to eleven thousand six hundred and eighty dollars. Add to this the interest for the time our wages have been kept back, and deduct what you paid for our clothing, and three doctor’s visits to me, and pulling a tooth for Mandy, and the balance will show what we are in justice entitled to. Please send the money by Adams’s Express, in care of V. Winters, Esq., Dayton, Ohio. If you fail to pay us for faithful labors in the past, we can have little faith in your promises in the future. We trust the good Maker has opened your eyes to the wrongs which you and your fathers have done to me and my fathers, in making us toil for you for generations without recompense. Here I draw my wages every Saturday night; but in Tennessee there was never any pay-day for the negroes any more than for the horses and cows. Surely there will be a day of reckoning for those who defraud the laborer of his hire.

In answering this letter, please state if there would be any safety for my Milly and Jane, who are now grown up, and both good-looking girls. You know how it was with poor Matilda and Catherine. I would rather stay here and starve—and die, if it come to that—than have my girls brought to shame by the violence and wickedness of their young masters. You will also please state if there has been any schools opened for the colored children in your neighborhood. The great desire of my life now is to give my children an education, and have them form virtuous habits.

Say howdy to George Carter, and thank him for taking the pistol from you when you were shooting at me.

From your old servant,

Jourdon Anderson.

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  • tusmuertostos

    That letter… so much soul, so much win.

    • Rodzilla

      Soul? I also love the letter, but it is the thinly veiled F. U.’s that really made me chuckle. I wish I knew the man’s reaction, when he read the letter. The man who wrote it had a great comedic talent.

  • Grimjak

    pretty cool letter. Great article.

  • hnsq

    Cavemancircus – who do you think has actually forgotten about slavery? What is this, other than trying to get viewers by manipulating emotions?

    Use less slimy tactics to get people to your site.

    • DerelictionOfDuty

      There’s nothing wrong with posting this. I never seen 3/4 of the images presented here and it’s quite fascinating. You sound so bitter

      • hnsq

        I am not bitter at all, the title of the post does nothing to help the content. Who doesn’t know slaves were abused terribly?

        • alex

          Conservatives seem to have forgotten slavery existed.

          • Bob Frapples

            Liberals seem to want to keep slavery going.

          • GUEST

            Liberals seem to “forget” that the Democrats were the party of slavery.

    • JDRR

      Why not? It’s history, a look back on what was happening before. It’s one of the notable aspects of American History; and for someone outside of the United States of America, I find this very fascinating and informative.

      And I like some dramatic, emotional, posts. A little break and variety from the funny LOLCats, sexy women, and hilarious Reaction GIFS.

    • Rodzilla

      You would prefer the site draws in viewers by objectifying women? I guess knowing that a lot of people use these sexytime photos to masturbate to is not slimy.

  • Whimsy

    Thank you for posting this.We can imagine all we like about what it meant to be a slave and we can read the cold cool text of history books but nothing speaks to the heart like photo’s, old letters and the actual words of the times. I will be haunted for a long time but so I should be ! I’ve never seen anything like this post…I held my breath while reading it and had to remind myself to breathe….I recently found out that in my history 6 out of 7 brothers were slave traders and although I felt this horrible rush of shame and pain I had no accurate understanding of what it meant (I live in Australia)….I hope now it is the blood of the 7th brother that runs in my veins. I cried to read the lists of actual human beings accorded less dignity than a cow or sheep and the suffering etched in those eyes made me want to reach out through time and alter their fates. We need to always be reminded of what human beings can and will do to other human being they share the planet with ! Thank you for posting this !

    • GreyMatter

      “I will be haunted for a long time but so I should be !”…your nothing but a drama queen!

  • fdsafsd

    When will you idiots stop punishing yourselves for this? You’re just rekindling the flames of racial hatred.

    • Bob Frapples


  • zelezny

    Honestly I feel no guilt at all for this. It was a different world back then governed by different rules. The African tribes were battling themselves to extinction while selling their slaves to the traders on the coast. Literally every race has been enslaved at some point and its really ‘not that big of a deal’ in the main history of the world.

    • daddamama

      By saying that “the African Tribes” were battling themselves to extinction, you make it sound like slavery is what saved them. Those tribes weren’t developed and hadn’t discovered the scientific method. but they were thriving in their own way trading with the Arabs and each other.

    • Antho

      “not that big of a deal” …come on. The guilt part is debatable, however to say something so arrogantly condescending is troublesome. You have no idea what the torment of being enslaved feels like, and to be fair neither do I. I do however have the stories passed down from my grandparents and their great grandparents about the inhumane conditions of every day life… so please think about what you type before you blurt out such inconsiderate nonsense as that..

      • PopTheLid

        Nobody has any idea what the torment of being enslaved feels like.

        There you have it.

  • Anonymous

    as someone outside of america, I find this very shocking and confusing.

    • Rodzilla

      Read my comment, a few lines above. You didn’t mention where you are from, but Europeans don’t have any better history, when it comes to slavery.

  • dikfor

    Guys don’t you know that slavery did not exist until Europeans started colonizing Africa.

    • Anon

      I hope you’re being sarcastic. If, on the outside chance that you are not, I will then take this opportunity to call you a fucking moron.

    • Rodzilla

      Sorry (actually, I’m really not), but slavery has existed as long as civilization has, probably longer. And, by saying that, I am NOT saying that fact makes it right, in any way. The earliest known documents mention slavery. Holding other humans as slaves (usually prisoners of war) is known to have existed in Mesopotamia (today’s Iraq, approximately), Greece, Rome, and Medieval Europe. I assume it was also common in Asia, but I don’t know, for sure.
      Seriously, does anyone who comments on the internet actually do any research on what comes out of their ass, or do you just form an opinion that sounds logical in your warped version of reality. There’s a great new invention, called Google, that can help prevent you from looking foolish to the entire world. SHEESH!

  • Just facts

    According to colonial records, the first slave owner in the United States was a black man.
    Prior to 1655 there were no legal slaves in the colonies, only indentured servants. All masters were required to free their servants after their time was up. Seven years was the limit that an indentured servant could be held. Upon their release they were granted 50 acres of land. This included any Negro purchased from slave traders. Negros were also granted 50 acres upon their release.
    Anthony Johnson was a Negro from modern-day Angola. He was brought to the US to work on a tobacco farm in 1619. In 1622 he was almost killed when Powhatan Indians attacked the farm. 52 out of 57 people on the farm perished in the attack. He married a female black servant while working on the farm.
    When Anthony was released he was legally recognized as a “free Negro” and ran a successful farm. In 1651 he held 250 acres and five black indentured servants. In 1654, it was time for Anthony to release John Casor, a black indentured servant. Instead Anthony told Casor he was extending his time. Casor left and became employed by the free white man Robert Parker.
    Anthony Johnson sued Robert Parker in the Northampton Court in 1654. In 1655, the court ruled that Anthony Johnson could hold John Casor indefinitely. The court gave judicial sanction for blacks to own slave of their own race. Thus Casor became the first permanent slave and Johnson the first slave owner.
    Whites still could not legally hold a black servant as an indefinite slave until 1670. In that year, the colonial assembly passed legislation permitting free whites, blacks, and Indians the right to own blacks as slaves.
    By 1699, the number of free blacks prompted fears of a “Negro insurrection.” Virginia Colonial ordered the repatriation of freed blacks back to Africa. Many blacks sold themselves to white masters so they would not have to go to Africa. This was the first effort to gently repatriate free blacks back to Africa. The modern nations of Sierra Leone and Liberia both originated as colonies of repatriated former black slaves.
    However, black slave owners continued to thrive in the United States.
    By 1830 there were 3,775 black families living in the South who owned black slaves. By 1860 there were about 3,000 slaves owned by black households in the city of New Orleans alone.

    • ann

      Indentured servitude and slavery were quite different.

  • Please

    “Never Forget. This Was Part Of Our History” is race bating BS. Slavery is as old as time, it existed before America, it exists now and will exist in the future. No one has forgotten, nor is any one alive today that had anything to do with this. Get over it, it happened, move on.

    • DerelictionOfDuty

      Yes lets forget about history and never speak or mention it ever again, because that such a wise idea.

    • ConcernedCitizen

      The last crop of people who survived the holocaust are dying out, lets never talk about the holocaust again after they pass

      • GhostFlame

        Nothing wrong with always remembering the holocaust. But you can bet the German people are not constantly reminding themselves of it every chance they get.

  • ArtBrecher

    My ancestors immigrated (legally) to the U.S. in the early part of the 20th century, in other words many years after slavery was outlawed. No one in my family owned another person at any time, ever, even in the “old country”. So I’m not really feeling any “White Guilt” over slavery in America. There is no denying that at one time slavery was legal in parts of the United States. However we fought a very bloody Civil War to finally decide the slave question resulting in more then 600,000 dead Americans. Where is the outrage at Muslim slave traders? Where is the outrage at African Tribes warring with each other the losers being sold to slavers? Yes slavery was part of our history; so was the industrialization of America which created jobs in northern factories that former slaves moved North to obtain in order to make better lives for their families.

  • P_Ang

    Weird. No mention of the centuries of North African Muslims enslaving white Europeans. No mention of the fact that few people in America owned slaves. No mention of the fact that by the time the civil war started there were more abolitionists than there were slave owners. No mention of the hundreds of thousands of whites that fought and died to free slaves that their families and ancestors never owned.

  • Atticus

    Never forget? How can we forget? It’s pounded into us every day from grade school through adulthood with media, textbooks, novels, tv, movies. I’d like not be reminded at every turn even though I had nothing to do with it.

  • SomeGuy

    SO many butthurt whiteys here lol! epic pwned!

  • Mitt Zombie

    Africans are still enslaving each other today. A few even eat others thinking it will give them powers.


    Never forget, it was Democrats that were willing to give their lives to keep these human beings in chains. And it was Republicans that were willing to give their lives to free them.

  • SeaFox

    They act like this is still going on!