April 21, 2016 |
At her family's Passover seder last April, Rabbi Debra Orenstein opted for the layered look: an ordinary T-shirt topped by a purple-and-black blouse made in India - and very likely sewn in a sweatshop by slave labor. At the moment when the seder's leader typically holds up a piece of matzo and declares, "This is the bread of affliction" - symbolizing the ancient Israelites' enslavement and hasty flight from Egypt - Orenstein startled her guests by peeling off the Indian blouse. "This," she announced, "is the shirt of affliction!"
April 18, 2016
James Traub is author of "John Quincy Adams: Militant Spirit" (Basic Books) On March 3, 1820, Secretary of State John Quincy Adams and Secretary of War John Calhoun walked down Pennsylvania Avenue after a cabinet meeting devoted to Missouri's application to be admitted to the Union as a slave state - a question that had begun to divide the country. Adams had insisted that the words of the Declaration of Independence - "all men are created equal" - should be construed to prohibit slavery.
April 17, 2016
The Other Slavery The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America By Andrés Reséndez Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 431 pp. $30 Reviewed by Peter Lewis Farmer X lived close by our house. Late Sunday night, he'd drive to town, bail 10 blotto men out of the drunk tank, and truck them to the farm. Next morning, oh, boy, were those men surprised. It took them about 10 days to pay off Farmer X: long hours, squalid housing, painful encounters with yellow jackets.
March 20, 2016
The Immortal Irishman The Irish Revolutionary Who Became an American Hero By Timothy Egan Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 448 pp. $30 Reviewed by Paul Jablow From his earliest years in Ireland to the battlefields of the Civil War to his mysterious death in an icy Montana river, Thomas Francis Meagher was driven by visions of freeing his native Ireland from the yoke of Britain. It was a mirage constantly fading into the horizon. Born to family wealth he easily tossed aside, Meagher had been sentenced in 1848 to hang for revolutionary activities.
March 17, 2016 |
DOHUK, Iraq - This week I met a young Yazidi woman who escaped after a year's captivity as a slave of ISIS. Haifa's horrifying story reminds me of the misguided debate in Washington over whether to label the effort to destroy the Yazidis (and other Iraqi minorities) a genocide. Congress has set a March 17 deadline for the State Department to make up its mind. By itself this label is of little value to Haifa or to the 2,500 or so other female Yazidi escapees (never mind the thousands who remain enslaved)
March 1, 2016
ISSUE | SLAVERY It's here, worldwide Many people believe that slavery was abolished more than 150 years ago. In reality, slavery still exists in countries around the world, including our own ("Janitorial slavery ring nets 20 years," Friday). The International Labor Organization estimates that there are more than 27 million slaves in the world. The Chester County Abolitionists is an anti-human-trafficking advocacy group that fights modern-day slavery in all its forms.
February 27, 2016 |
Stoutsburg Cemetery - located in Skillman, N.J., at the heel of the Sourland Mountains - has long served as an African American burial ground. Like many such places, it holds much unspoken history. Two trustees of the Stoutsburg Cemetery Association are unraveling those secrets - the stories behind unmarked slave graves around the cemetery - for a book to be published next year. Purchased in 1858 for people of color, Stoutsburg became the final resting place for local residents, including veterans of conflicts dating back to the American Revolution.
February 27, 2016 |
Likening their misdeeds to war crimes, a federal judge sentenced two Ukrainian brothers to 20 years in prison Thursday for their roles in a modern-day slavery operation in Port Richmond, in which victims were beaten, kidnapped, raped, and terrorized to keep them working in janitorial jobs for little to no pay. Mykhaylo Botsvynyuk, 37, and Yaroslav Churuk, 48, said nothing and showed little reaction as District Judge Paul S. Diamond handed down...
February 20, 2016
ISSUE | ANTONIN SCALIA Disturbing cartoon Signe Wilkinson's editorial cartoon was an insult to the memory of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia (Wednesday). It depicted a black man in a shirt labeled "Slaves: 3/5th" standing in the rain while the Founding Fathers mourned at Scalia's grave beneath an umbrella labeled "Original Constitution. " Scalia's "originalist" legal philosophy referred to the Constitution as it's now written, not to the original version, which was flawed with respect to slavery.
January 25, 2016 |
There were few things the seemingly indefatigable Richard Allen was unable to do. Born into slavery in Delaware in 1760, he worked tirelessly, purchased his freedom and came to Philadelphia, founded a civil organization, founded a church, and then an entire religious denomination. He ran a successful chimney-sweep business (working on President Washington's chimneys, among others). He sought to end slavery, provided refuge for those escaping its chains, and organized black conventions.