QOTD- James LaFond

“Plantation American of the 1600’s was almost exclusively white-over-white slave-system.
The 1700’s was a time of very mixed-race slavery, roughly 60% white, 30% black and 10% Indian or mixed race in terms of total bondage rations across the original 13 states

From The Greatest Lie Ever Sold: The Foundation of Our Misbegotten Nation by James LaFond, from the chapter titled “Boys and girls”, where he shows a bit of the etymology of the terms and their use in America and why they are perceived so differently by black and white men.

I knew from a quote in “White Cargo” that in 1775 George Washington posted a runaway slave notice that only described three of the ten runaways as black, but I didn’t think it likely that was a typical ratio. LaFond goes on to say it wasn’t until the 1800’s that slavery gradually morphed into an almost exclusively black institution.

The book is oddly organized, more like a lightly edited set of research notes, emails, blog posts and snippets, but he’s got some interesting sources quoted. Not as many specific sources cited for specific claims as a more formal history book might, but this is something like book 9 out of a planned 13. I’m thinking some if some grad student wants a good research thesis, documenting just how many slaves/indentures were shipped to North America in the 1600’s and 1700’s by decade, and what their survival / runaway / actually able to claim their headright acreage numbers and rates were, it might be very eye-opening and would have a good-sized audience.


2 thoughts on “QOTD- James LaFond

  1. The attack that would come on such a project would be biblical. And then just like Hunter’s laptop. It would be ignored by the media. And would end up at the FBI for political investigation.
    But it only makes sense that white people would be easier to enslave just by demographics. I’m also sure it was a bigger problem because it was easier for whites to escape.
    Indenture was very useful in that term as it would give the servant light at the end of the tunnel. No matter how hard the servitude. Unlike America of today. Where there is no mercy for those that work.

    1. The thing is that many of the early “bond-servants” were taken quite involuntarily (that’s the origin of the word “kidnaped”, from “kid nabbed”), just swept up off the street for no reason other than being poor, homeless, orphans, and other “crimes,” sentenced to prison and sold for FAR less than any black slave was bought for on the African coast, shipped over and worked to death. From another book, “White Cargo,” it tells of a group of 300 such captures, roughly 1/4 girls, all between the ages of 8 and 16, shipped over and sold between 1618 and 1621 in Virginia. The census of 1624 only found 12 of them. 4% still alive, present, and working off their indenture. That’s only one colony, one three-year period. And the “1619 project” tries to make such a huge deal out of the first 20. Talk about no context!

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