Sensational Headlines

The MPCPMP has taken historical facts and made them into news headlines. Unfortunately, none of these headlines is followed by fake news or fabricated history. Instead, under each sensational headline, we present the truth — a brief historical fact or a description with background. Our intention is to capture the reader’s attention using the format of a tabloid.

Headline Captions

  1. Two Million Die in Ocean

This is the approximate number of captive Africans, most free before captivity, who died during the Middle Passage.

  1. Investment Advice: Land and Slaves

Thomas Jefferson stated that the fastest return can be realized in the new nation through the purchase of land and enslaved Africans, preferably female because of their ability to reproduce.

  1. Africans: 3 of Every 4 Arrivals to Americas

From 1510 until the 1830s, the majority of people (75%) arriving throughout the Americas were Africans. This migration was fueled by the high, constant demand for labor to produce commodities and the resulting death rate from the demands placed upon them, especially in cane and tobacco growing.

  1. Prison Camps Dot Nation

Until after the Revolutionary War, farms and plantations throughout mainland North America depended upon slave labor to support an agricultural economy. Enslaved people, imprisoned by law and legally incarcerated, were the artisans, carpenters, metalsmiths, healers, field workers, and house servants in all regions of the country – north, south, east, and west.

  1. Families Destroyed for Profit

Legally defined as property without rights, no enslaved woman, man, mother, father, son, daughter, brother, sister, or other relative had the recognized ability, to maintain any relationship. On a whim, as punishment, and most frequently as a capital venture, families were torn apart and forever separated. 

  1. Terrorists Rampant in US

Violence and terror against Africans and their descendants were the accepted and prevailing means of sustaining slavery, thwarting progress after the Civil War, enforcing Jim Crow, and resisting the challenges made for both human and civil rights throughout the history of this nation. 

  1. Prisoners Build Country

People held in bondage are prisoners. The enslaved were the most prevalent population group held in bondage over centuries in the U.S. Other groups included indentured servants, debtors, and prisoners. These people with varying legal definitions were held in bondage under conditions related to time, rights, and social status. This is such an intrinsic part of the national fabric that even as the 13th Amendment to abolish slavery was established it made an exception for the penal system by which slavery could be maintained. These are the people – enslaved, indentured, criminals – who provided much of the labor that built the national economy and infrastructure.

  1. Slavery: Economic Base of Global Economy

As a model for investment, profit, production networking, and sales, the transatlantic human trade and slavery formed the basis upon which global enterprise was fostered and supported, with less emphasis upon individual nations, geographical regions, and leaders. The principal factors include attracting investors, identifying and controlling resources, marketing, and guaranteeing capital gains for the benefit of a select group.

  1. Empire through Debt, Disease, and Destruction

Framed within the mantra of Manifest Destiny and later Rudyard Kipling’s “White Man’s Burden,” a systematic approach by Europeans assured success in obtaining land from indigenous people. The methods included disease, war, and debt by creating demand for items in exchange for resources such as land, people, and minerals. By one method or the other, colonialism and control, according to Jefferson and others, could be attained around the world.

  1. 26 Generations Held Against Their Will

This covers the time period during which innocent people and their families were victims of slavery in the Americas. Although Africans, both enslaved and free, arrived with the Europeans on all the expeditions starting with Columbus in 1492, the first enslaved Africans brought to live and work in the Western Hemisphere came in 1509. They did not volunteer or sign up. This practice of enslavement continued into the 19th century, with Brazil becoming the last location to abolish slavery in 1888, two years after Cuba in 1886.

  1. Child Slavery

Twenty-five percent of captive Africans were children. By the 19th century, children and teenagers comprised the majority of people transported to the Americas because it was assumed that population would be easier to adapt to a life of servitude and the loss of freedom.  

  1. Jobs for Life

From early childhood until old age, all enslaved persons were assigned tasks. Operating from dawn to dusk daily, it was never an issue of not having a job;, the injustice was absence of pay, liberty, and human rights. There was very little choice or opportunity associated with jobs that were assigned. Black people have never experienced lack of work – the reality is the lack of fair compensation for their labor, skills, and knowledge.

  1. New Guinea: New Name for Virginia Colony

In his 18th century diary, Colonel William Byrd II expressed concern for the mass transport of captive, enslaved Africans into the Virginia colony: “They import so many Negros hither, that I fear this Colony will sometime or other be confirmed by the Name of New Guinea. I am sensible of many consequences of multiplying these Ethiopians amongst us.”

  1. Child Slave Labor Buys Groceries for President and Family

A scholar specializing in the history of Monticello and Thomas Jefferson recently uncovered documents that showed that young boys under the age of twelve were charged, under threat of whipping, to meet a daily quota of iron nail production. The revenue Jefferson received from the sale of those nails was specifically used to purchase food items. There is a record that Jefferson condoned this type of punishment and labor system.

  1. Millions Denied Human Rights by U. S. Government

From 1776 until 1865, 89 years, the United States Government legally condoned slavery with all its entailed injustices. It is not until the 14th Amendment that those formerly enslaved were defined as citizens, people rather than property. According to the 1860 U.S. Census, there were 3,950,528 enslaved people in this country. Projecting for population increase, even factoring in the Civil War and escapes to freedom, approximately 4,000,000 would not have protected human or civil rights until the passage of the 14th amendment in 1865.

  1. Men, Women, and Children Stripped Naked and Branded for Export

It was standard practice prior to the Middle Passage that captive Africans were branded, stripped naked, and shaved. This was the process of commodification – attempting to transform human beings into items for sale. Branding identified ownership; stripping dehumanized by removing any external vestiges of ethnic or cultural identity and norms as well as identified possible flaws in the body; shaving, according to common judgement, reduced disease and vermin infestation on the voyage.

  1. Slavery: The Choice of U.S. Presidents

From George Washington to Abraham Lincoln, each president had the opportunity to abolish slavery and did not. Expediency always took precedent over morality. Even though lip service was given to slavery’s injustice, the feasibility of liberating enslaved people and the anticipated repercussions were raised as impediments to abolition. In fact, George Washington freed his enslaved after his death when he would no longer need them, and the Great Emancipator Lincoln stated that in order to save the Union he would free all the slaves or none at all. Expediency, not morality, in the country’s highest political office routinely trumps.

  1. Humans: Shark Chum

During the transatlantic human trade that spanned approximately three hundred and fifty years, sharks trailed ships that transported captive Africans across the Atlantic, feeding on human bodies in the water because of suicide, punishment, or death. In many reports related to the ships, there are constants: filth, torture, sickness, terror, abuse, stench, and sharks. Death at sea of both crew and captives was a normal occurrence. The average mortality rate at sea averaged 12-17% for a “cargo” of two to three hundred people during a six-week voyage. Although not a traditionally recognized food source, these ships over centuries conditioned sharks and other ocean life to respond to these vessels as a possible source of nourishment. The deaths of captives and crew making these journeys inspired the following quote by historian John Henrik Clarke: 

If the Atlantic were to dry up, it would reveal a scattered pathway of human bones, African bones, marking the various routes of the Middle Passage.

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