Articles on Slavery

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Barbados was ground zero for racism and slavery but due to the resilience of the islanders, it is a model country of democracy. Here a sugar cane harvest post card, circa 1927. W. L. Johnson & Co. Ltd., Barbados. No. 15

The resilience of Barbados counters Trump’s ‘sh-thole’ remarks

U.S. President Trump's former attorney revealed some ugly racist things his client has said. One of them - once again - speaks of "shit-hole" countries. We need to counter this false idea.
Globalised fishing can leave workers vulnerable to exploitation. Shutterstock.com

How to keep slave-caught seafood off your plate

A lack of sustainability, profitability and transparency in the global fishing industry is exacerbating the problem of slave-like working conditions for crew. Here are the warning signs to look out for.
In certain communities in Benin, Togo and Ghana, young virgin girls are sent to atone for their family’s wrongdoing. Linda De Volder/Flickr

Girls in West Africa offered into sexual slavery as ‘wives of gods’

Trokosi is an ancient practice in West Africa where virgin girls, some as young as six are sent as slaves to make amends for wrongs committed by their families.
In this April 14, 1947 file photo, a long line winds toward the entrance to Morrisania Hospital in the Bronx borough of New York, where doctors were vaccinating against smallpox. In an attempt to halt the spread of the disease, officials said city residents were being vaccinated at the rate of eight a minute. (AP Photo/File)

The elimination of smallpox showed how humans can work together to solve deadly global problems

Humans have shown that together we can overcome daunting problems, including deadly pathogens like smallpox. It is a lesson of international cooperation and respect that we should pay attention to.
A religion sociologist discovers that his criticism of the Church is based on lies. Shutterstock

The Catholic Church is a rich male collective

The real lessons of Jesus Christ as outlined in the Bible are socialist. But the Church, a veritable old boys club, doesn't teach us that.
Serena Williams looks at her box during the women’s final of the U.S. Open tennis tournament against Naomi Osaka, of Japan on Sept. 8, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

That racist caricature of Serena Williams makes me so angry

Serena Williams challenged decades of stereotypes when she revealed her anger after she disagreed with a U.S. Open umpire. A racist caricature and calls to boycott her playing by umpires followed.
Prison jobs are always low paid, often difficult, and produce many of the foodstuffs and services many Americans use every day. Reuters/Lucy Nicholson

Prisoner strike exposes an age old American reliance on forced labor

Enslaved workers used to grow cotton and mill flour. Now prisoners grind beef and crate eggs. Here, a historian explores Americans' troubling habit of consuming the products of slave labor.
A statue in Port-au-Pirnce honors Jean-Jacques Dessalines’ legacy as a Haitian revolutionary. Now, a renamed Brooklyn street does, too. AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery

Meet Haiti’s founding father, whose black revolution was too radical for Thomas Jefferson

A renamed Brooklyn street celebrates Jean-Jacques Dessalines, a Haitian slave turned president. For centuries his legacy was tarnished by allegations that Haiti's revolution led to 'white genocide.'
Protesters toppled the ‘Silent Sam’ Confederate statue on Aug. 20 at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Gerry Broome/AP

Tearing down Confederate statues leaves structural racism intact

Toppling statues devoted to Confederate soldiers may be a joyous moment for protesters who fight white supremacy, but after the statues fall, structural racism remains, a scholar on slavery argues.
Sections of a Brazilian slave ship from the 19th century. Robert Walsh, as shown on www.slaveryimages.org, compiled by Jerome Handler and Michael Tuite and sponsored by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities." caption="A Brazilian slave ship from the 19th century." zoomable="true

Transatlantic slave trade was not entirely ‘triangular’ – countries in the Americas sent ships out too

Merchants from Brazil, Cuba, North America and the British West Indies traded goods grown by slaves on plantations, for more slaves.
After the Civil War, Texas’s sugar cane plantations were still farmed by unpaid black laborers – prisoners forced to work for free in a system called ‘convict leasing.’

A Texas city discovered a mass grave of prison laborers. What should it do with the bodies?

An African-American burial ground uncovered at a construction site in Texas has ignited debate on how to protect black history as suburban sprawl overtakes rural areas once farmed by enslaved workers.

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