MICHIGAN, December 10, 2013 — Some zealously conservative Americans despise Nelson Mandela. They believe his life is unworthy of celebration because he signed a bill permitting abortion, was a terrorist, was a communist, and took help from America’s enemies.
Can some of America’s revered leaders meet the standard of worthiness demanded of Mandela? Under the system of chattel slavery that existed under the watch of American icons George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, slave masters were permitted to force a pregnant slave to lie face down on the ground with her pregnant belly in a hole.
Then, the master could beat her continuously, usually with a bullwhip, either as punishment or to instill fear in her.
Slave owners could cut out the baby from the woman’s womb and stomp it in front of other slaves, if they wished, for no better reason than to demonstrate their total power and control.
Slaves were dehumanized, brutalized, and exploited to enrich the people who abused them. The only thing that could limit a master’s cruelty was his desire to extract further profit from a slave.
Millions of black Africans were dragged across the oceans by slave traders from Italy, America, Britain, and other countries. They were packed into crowded hulls like cord wood or bolts of cloth, and if half died, the voyage would still produce a profit.
Yet, the leaders of nations who traded in this misery and who turned a blind eye to the carnage are honored to this very day.
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