I write this article to inform people on two slavery facts that no one seems to ever think about, or even remember. While some argue about metaphorical imprisonment of things such as gender or poverty, or fictional ones such as in Disney’s Star Wars or Aladdin are the most important things right now in our society, I would argue that the first point I’m about to make actually is, while the second one is just something interesting to know.
Did you know that according to the 13th amendment, we can still have slaves in modern day? Certainly, whatever wiggle room is in this important amendment is something that we as God fearing citizen do not enforce, correct? Wrong.
I didn’t realize that the amendment that supposedly freed the slaves in our country had such an exception, nor that it was stated it in plain English. Below is the direct quote from the 13th Amendment, and I have emphasized where I deemed important:
“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.”
At around the 2 minute mark of Dec 16, 2010 NPR’s talk of the Nation, it is explained that, in many states, work is mandatory as a way of paying for the prisoners food, housing, etc.
Later it is explained that they make, literally not figuratively, pennies that they do not even get to keep 100% of, unless it’s in an industry that the private sector competes with. Some states, do not pay prisoners at all. At the 11 minute mark, they have a former prisoner state that it is slave labor.
My second point, is that slavery, in North America and the west, was not exclusive to African Americans. In the mid 1600’s, Oliver Cromwell’s reign of terror was well under weigh and as part of it, many of the Irish were shipped out to uninhabitable places as well as abducted into slavery due to being Catholic.
Irish slaves cost less than African slaves, given that African ones were originally purchased. Irish women were used for breeding with African men, as their mulato offspring could be sold for a higher value than just Irish ones.
Many, will claim that the Irish were indentured servants, like the African American former slaves were post civil war, and I can not stress how incorrect that is. Were there Irish indentured servants? Yes. Were they treated badly, but released after seven years? Maybe? However, there were still Irish slaves in what is now The United States of America, and that should not be forgotten.
Why did Irish slavery fall out of fashion? Around 1776, when The Colonists were accusing Britain of treating them like slaves due to taxation without representation, things must have become slightly awkward for them. Around this time, they came up with the racist notion that African Americans were inferior to them, and that was why it was okay to keep them as slaves.
Irish slavery happened, African slavery lasted a lot longer, and when racism was brought into it, there was no way you can sensibly argue that it wasn’t worse.
On St. Kitt’s, there is a monument to Irish Slavery. While I have never personally been there, I felt that it was worth mentioning.
Below is a book that is well researched on the topic of white slavery that was published on March 8, 2008.