Right before Christmas, Warner Bros. quietly gave “Harry Potter” fans what was, for some of them, a long-wished-for gift. In a letter to Andrew Slack, the founder of the Harry Potter Alliance, Joshua Berger, the company’s president for Harry Potter Global Franchise Development, announced, “By the end of 2015, and sooner when possible, all Harry Potter chocolate products sold at Warner Bros. outlets and through our licensed partners will be 100-percent UTZ or Fair Trade certified.”[more inside]
My name is Omar ibn Seid (pdf, 163 kb). My birthplace was Fut Tûr, between the two rivers. I sought knowledge under the instruction of a Sheikh called Mohammed Seid, my own brother, and Sheikh Soleiman Kembeh, and Sheikh Gabriel Abdal. I continued my studies twenty-five years. Then there came to our place a large army, who killed many men, and took me, and brought me to the great sea, and sold me into the hands of the Christians, who bound me and sent me on board a great ship and we sailed upon the great sea a month and a half, when we came to a place called Charleston in the Christian language. There they sold me to a small, weak, and wicked man.[more inside]
The Underground Railroad was the route that allowed Southern slaves to escape North, but some slaves found freedom by hiding closer to home, in the vast wilderness area of North Carolina and Virginia known as the Great Dismal Swamp. Research suggests that thousands of maroons, as the escaped or freed slaves were called, lived there between 1700 and the 1860s. [more inside]
Shortly after the Civil War, an ex-slave was asked by his master to return to the plantation. He dictated a reply that would have made Mark Twain proud, and which has been previously featured on Metafilter. In fact, the letter was so good that some folks began to question whether it was real. New research shows it was, and gives details about the lives of the master and slave.
"One of the most vexing questions in African-American history is whether free African Americans themselves owned slaves. The short answer to this question, as you might suspect, is yes, of course … For me, the really fascinating questions about black slave-owning are how many black "masters" were involved, how many slaves did they own and why did they own slaves?" Henry Louis Gates Jr. on black slave owners.
"Very often, black people work to make white people at ease by layering away any unease we ourselves may feel. It is hard work to translate yourself daily to someone else who most likely lives life without ever being fully aware of how their very existence has been the basis for determining what is 'normal' in America and much of the world. And yet this painful and ongoing work of translation is second nature to those of us who have always had to figure out ways to be seen and understood in a world where the white experience is assumed to be the default."
"If I was to die, today or tomorrow, I do not think I would die satisfied till you tell me you will try and marry some good, smart man that will take care of you and the children"
Author Jon Meacham has a new book out on Thomas Jefferson. It is reviewed in the New York Times: Cultivating Control in a Nation’s Crucible
But this book does not address its principal concern, power, until Jefferson has accrued some. When it comes to the force that he wielded as a slaveholder, Mr. Meacham finds ways to suggest that thoughts of abolition would have been premature; that it was not uncommon for white heads of households to be waited on by slaves who bore family resemblances to their masters; and that since Jefferson treated slavery as a blind spot, the book can too.[more inside]
Tibet serf debate shadows China's "emancipation day". Like Juneteeth or Martin Luther King Day, Tibet's Serf Emancipation Day commemorates the freeing of a million serfs in 1959. Much like the descendants of slaveowners mocking Martin Luther King Day, the descendants of Tibet's aristocracy have announced Smurf Emancipation Day.
I was a slave in Puglia. A long first-person exposé, in English, about immigrant slave labor in Italy, from Fabrizio Gatti writing in the Italian newspaper L'Espresso. "I can hire you. Tomorrow," he promises. "Do you have a girl friend?" "A girlfriend?" "You have to bring me a woman. For the boss. If you bring him one, he'll put you to work right away. Any girl will do." He points to a twenty year-old woman and her companion, working on the conveyor belt of a huge tractor that is being used to gather tomatoes. "Those two are Romanians, just like you. She slept with the boss." "But I'm alone." "No work for you then." Photo galleries. Italian version (includes additional sidebars not found in the English version, including local and government reaction to the exposé and more photo galleries under the sidebar "Reportage Fotografico.")
letter from a freedman to his old master jourdan anderson's letter offers a compelling view of one man's view of freedom. page 2, page 3