On August 19, 2010 Glenn Beck gave a lesson on slavery in America on his TV show on Fox News. You can hear what he said on his Fox News web site here. It’s been almost a week since I watched this segment of his show, but I can’t get it out of my mind. Glenn Beck has to be Politically Correct on his show if he wants to stay on TV, so I’ll have to tell you the rest of the story, the part that he left out.
Slaves were brought to America by the Dutch West India company which you can read about here on Wikipedia. Here is the quote from Wikipedia:
The area where the company could operate consisted of West Africa (between the Tropic of Cancer and the Cape of Good Hope) and the Americas, which included the Pacific Ocean and the eastern part of New Guinea. The intended purpose of the charter was to eliminate competition, particularly Spanish or Portuguese, between the various trading posts established by the merchants.
You can see a large photo of the whole West India House here. The house is located in a section of Amsterdam that is called Haarlem. Harlem in New York was named after Haarlem in Amsterdam.
What Glenn Beck didn’t tell you is that the slave traders, based in Haarlem, didn’t go to West Africa and sneak into the interior to capture the African natives and bring them to America in their ships. No, the slave traders PURCHASED the slaves from the Africans who sold them to the slave traders. They didn’t sell their own people, of course. They captured and sold people from the neighboring tribes. The Africans even built prisons on the coast where they held the captured people until the slave ships arrived.
What Glenn Beck DID tell his viewers is that the first Africans, who were brought to America, were sold to the American colonists as indentured servants. The buyer would pay the cost of bringing an African to America and that person became an indentured servant who had to work to pay off the cost of his passage. White people also came to America as indentured servants and had to work to pay their passage. A member of my extended family is descended from a 15-year-old boy who came from England to America and had to work as an indentured servant to pay for the trip. While he was an indentured servant, he became an apprentice brick layer and learned a trade which he used to earn a living after he paid back the money to the man to whom he was indentured.
The first Africans who became indentured servants were also set free after they paid their debt to the person to whom they had been indentured. Then one day, three indentured servants (two whites and one African) escaped from their masters, as Glenn Beck told his audience. They were caught and put on trial; the African was sentenced to a lifetime of servitude, but the two white indentured servants were not. That was the beginning of slavery in America. What Glenn Beck didn’t tell you is that the reason the black indentured servant was given a harsher sentence is because he was the instigator; he had encouraged the two whites to run off from their masters along with him. This had to be stopped because the whole system of indentured servitude was in danger if the Africans were going to persuade the whites to escape from their masters and not pay for their passage.
Another thing that Glenn Beck didn’t dare to tell his viewers was the religion of the owners of most of the ships. You will have to look that up for yourself, if you don’t know already.
But there’s more! Maybe Beck doesn’t know this, but there were also white slaves in America. Have you ever heard of the battle of Culloden in Scotland? I went to see the battlefield when I visited Scotland many years ago and I learned from the museum there that the Scottish Highlanders who were the losers in the battle with the British were banished to America and some of these losers were sentenced by the British to be slaves for life. I’m not sure of this, but I think the term “redneck” might have originated from the white slaves working in the fields alongside the black slaves; with their fair skin, they would have quickly developed red necks.