This article on CNN, about President and Mrs. Obama’s trip to Africa in which they visited camps used to ship slaves east, got me thinking about Connecticut’s involvement in the slave trade.
I knew Connecticut participated in the slave trade but I was not really aware to what extent, and I was surprised to see just how influential we were in the capturing and keeping of slaves.
The article, “The State that Slavery Built”, from the Hartford Courant goes into depth about Connecticut’s involvement and is a must-read.
The South tends to bear the sin of slavery in this country. The victorious get to write the history books, and the North seems to get a pass on slavery, since it was the North that went to war in part to free the slaves. But I think it’s unwise to start the discussion of slavery at the attack on Fort Sumter.
Connecticut was involved in the slave trade for very a long time–long before the unrest that started the beginning of the end of slavery.
Taken from Slavenorth.com:
“The largest increase came in the period 1749-1774. By the latter year, New London County had become the greatest slaveholding section of New England, with almost twice as many slaves as the most populous slave county in Massachusetts. New London was both an industrial center and the site of large slave-worked farms; with 2,036 slaves, it accounted for almost one-third of all the blacks in Connecticut. New London town itself, with 522 blacks and a white population of 5,366, led the state in number of slaves and percentage of black inhabitants”
I’m pretty sure a lot of this information isn’t making it into the schoolbooks of our children, which is a real shame. History should be complete and honest. How else can we learn from it?
The North lost a lot of great Americans in the Civil war, and they should be remembered and respected. But it’s probably a stretch to say that freeing slaves was everyones sole reason for going to war. Luckily, the outcome of the war did in fact lead to the freeing of the slaves. And that is why that war might be different then most wars before or after–its result was the freeing of another man.
But this shouldn’t wipe out the behavior leading to why such an action was needed, one in which Connecticut holds its share of blame. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think the people living here today should have to answer for the sins of our forefathers, especially since many of our “fathers” came well after the Civil War had ended.
But I don’t think that Connecticut history should reap the benefits from the boys in blue, while at the same time, casting stones over the Mason-Dixon line.