By MIKE ALEWITZ
Juneteenth celebrates the announcement of the abolition of slavery following the Civil War. The defeat of the slavocracy is cause for celebration, but the struggle for the emancipation of African-Americans continues. While chattel slavery was formally abolished, sharecropping, prisoner leasing and other institutions ensured that the legacy of slavery remained an everyday presence in US life. In many parts of the US, slave-like conditions existed until the advent of the modern civil rights movement.
Even today, the African-American slave-labor prison population of over 850,000 is greater than the number of enslaved people in 1850. Police forces, whose historic roots include roaming bands of slave-catchers and night riders, are a massive repressive force.
While extra-legal lynching is no longer widely practiced as a public spectacle, police murders of African-Americans continue to function as a means to terrorize the black community.
The enormous wealth made from exploiting slave labor provided the capital for the rapid expansion of the US financial empire. There can never be justice in this country until there is a recognition that the fortunes of today’s super-rich were built on the backs of enslaved labor.
The history of slavery is not over. Over 40 million people in the world remain enslaved – further enriching the super-rich.
Abolish all global slavery!
Image: Details from the MONUMENT TO HARRIET TUBMAN (front and rear views)
Destroyed by city officials of Cambridge, Md.
From the series: THE DREAMS OF HARRIET TUBMAN
By Mike Alewitz / 2000
Harriet Tubman – Armed & Dangerous: https://docs.google.com/document/pub?id=1qFQMuNfGQTq8n0XPHomhPDkxHC3BZ0DdoPS33ixHK3E