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How can we miss you if you won’t go away?

[ 209 ] April 15, 2016 |


Have you ever heard or read something and dismissed it out of hand but at the same time you have a niggling suspicion your dismissal is based on nothing more than distaste or disgust, and later you discover whatever you dismissed is true and you think Wow, this denial stuff is sneak-ee?

A week or so ago I saw a Tweet that stated Andrew Sullivan was going to start clogging the atmosphere with his ruminations again. And I thought Phhbbft. Citizens of the Twitters can be sooo gullible. And why is anyone making jokes about Andrew Sullivan, anyway?

But then, a few days ago I go to Alicublog and

NEW VILLAGE VOICE COLUMN UP… about the return of Andrew Sullivan to our telescreens.

[Wilhelm]

Great. Obama’s leaving office, there’s another 3,025,809 days left until the end of this wheel of pain known as the 2016 presidential election cycle (or 3,025,815 days until the start of 2020) and now this.

And This probably won’t be restricted to prolonged hand-wringing over how uncivil the GOP has become since he went off to meditate at the Margaret Thatcher Memorial Monastery for Tumid Tories.

By following the links – which I will one day learn not to do – This will likely include Mr. Bell Curve Isreal’s thoughts on race. Because if Mr. Sullivan were capable of figuring out that there are some topics about which he should never share his thoughts, because they are wrong and offensive, he would have quit back in the early days of Bush II, Scene I.

Here’s a snip from his recent appearance on Chris Matthews.

Sullivan: No I didn’t. I said. You mentioned Black Lives Matter. I mean the race. The Left on the race question is now neo-Marxist in a way it hasn’t been at all in the past.

Matthews: Neo-Marxist?

Sullivan: Yes! It believes that race is a structurally, economically and socially imponderable and completely unmovable force. I mean, I’ve read Ta-Nehisi Coates. That’s what it is! It’s Marxism without the happy ending!

God help us all, writes Driftglass, who – here’s the silver lining – is reviving Stupid Shit Andrew Sullivan Says. Agreed. And if God won’t help out, I’m willing to give Dagon a ring to ask if he can lend a fin.

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The California Constitution Does Not Enact Ms. Michelle Rhee’s TED Talks

[ 57 ] April 15, 2016 |

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It’s good to see that the education “reform” equivalent of Lochner v. NY has been unanimously overturned by the California Court of Appeal.

How Not to Contextualize a Confederate Statue

[ 71 ] April 14, 2016 |

Activist with the Dallas Peace Center stand by a statue of General Robert E. Lee during a protest at Lee Park Tuesday, June 30, 2015, in Dallas. John Fullinwider, the organizer of the event that nearly 30 persons showed up to said that they gathered in hopes of prompting a dialogue with city officials regarding confederate symbols around the city. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

The battle over Treason in Defense of Slavery remembrance continues, albeit and unfortunately at a much lower temperature than last year. The University of Mississippi has a Confederate statue on its campus. It figured it needed to contextualize that. So here’s what the plaque said:

“As Confederate veterans were passing from the scene in increasing numbers, memorial associations built monuments in their memory all across the South. This statue was dedicated by citizens of Oxford and Lafayette County in 1906. On the evening of September 30, 1962, the statue was a rallying point where a rebellious mob gathered to prevent the admission of the University’s first African American student. It was also at this statue that a local minister implored the mob to disperse and allow James Meredith to exercise his rights as an American citizen. On the morning after that long night, Meredith was admitted to the University and graduated in August 1963. This historic structure is a reminder of the University’s past and of its current and ongoing commitment to open its hallowed halls to all who seek truth and knowledge and wisdom.”

Um…..

The University of Mississippi Department of History was not happy either. It came up with an alternative text, one that actually is useful:

“From the 1870s through the 1920s, memorial associations erected more than 1,000 Confederate monuments throughout the South. These monuments reaffirmed white southerners’ commitment to a ‘Lost Cause’ ideology that they created to justify Confederate defeat as a moral victory and secession as a defense of constitutional liberties. The Lost Cause insisted that slavery was not a cruel institution and — most importantly — that slavery was not a cause of the Civil War. It also conveyed a belief, widely accepted throughout the United States, in white racial supremacy. Campaigns for legally mandated ‘Jim Crow’ segregation and for the disfranchisement of African Americans accompanied celebrations of the Lost Cause; these campaigns often sparked racial violence, including lynching.

“Historians today recognize slavery as the central cause of the Civil War and freedom as its most important result. Although deadly and destructive, the Civil War freed four million enslaved southerners and led to the passage of constitutional amendments that promised national citizenship and equal protection of laws, regardless of race. This monument, created in 1906 to recognize the sacrifice of Mississippians who fought to establish the Confederacy as a slaveholding republic, must now remind us that Confederate defeat brought freedom, however imperfect, to millions of people.”

See, that’s actually contextualizing a statue and telling some truth, as opposed to not wanting to upset racist alumni or white supremacist politicians.

Thursday Links

[ 154 ] April 14, 2016 |

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Oppose Union Exemptions to the $15 Minimum Wage

[ 12 ] April 14, 2016 |

Head in Hands

I discussed this request of unions for minimum wage exemptions some last spring, but the issue hasn’t gone away:

Los Angeles city council will hear a proposal on Tuesday to exempt union members from a $15 an hour minimum wage that the unions themselves have spent years fighting for.

The proposal for the exemption was first introduced last year, after the Los Angeles city council passed a bill that would see the city’s minimum wage increase to $15 by 2020. After drawing criticism last year, the proposed amendment was put on hold but is now up for consideration once again.

Union leaders argue the amendment would give businesses and unions the freedom to negotiate better agreements, which might include lower wages but could make up the difference in other benefits such as healthcare. They argue that such exemptions might make businesses more open to unionization.

Because the California governor, Jerry Brown, signed a law raising the state minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022, workers who are part of the union would see their wages increase eventually – potentially two years later than those who are not part of union.

I recently laid out a sort of moral compass for people on the left supporting union positions. Fundamentally, the question is whether organized labor supports a position that leads to greater human justice. Usually, it does. Sometimes, it does not. This is an example of the latter. Yes, the $15 minimum wage does create some inconveniences for some low-wage worker unions like UFCW and UNITE-HERE because they have negotiated agreements with sub-$15 wages but with other benefits. Raising everyone to $15 means a shrinkage or elimination of promotional differentials, for instance.

But organized labor simply cannot support a position that undermines its own membership. The argument that businesses might be more favorable to unionization if they can pay union workers lower pages is, to say the least, is wrongheaded. First, no they won’t, because unions are about power on the job as much as about money for members. Second, why would people join unions if they are going to make less money? Sure, you could explain the benefits, voice on the job, etc., but no one will join a union if they will make less money than non-union workers. It’s insane to think otherwise.

There is no good reason for organized labor to support exemptions to the $15 minimum wage. It makes them look incompetent and foolish.

The Negligible Impact of Vice Presidential Choices on Electoral Outcomes

[ 195 ] April 14, 2016 |

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Always worth noting:

The underlying assumption is this: Vice presidential candidates add votes in their home state. The right VP pick can help carry a competitive state, the thinking goes, or put an uncompetitive state into play. Knowing that, a presidential candidate would be foolish not to use this strategic opportunity to try to pick up a key state in the Electoral College. At a minimum, the list of pros and cons for each vice presidential finalist must include his or her potential to deliver a home-state advantage.

Like all unquestioned shibboleths, it’s come to seem almost a law of nature by now. Analyzing news coverage between 2000 and 2012, we found that journalists invoked geographic strategy in about 50 percent of their profiles on potential veep candidates. But it’s wrong. According to our analysis of election and voter data over the course of a little more than the past century, a vice presidential candidate’s state of residence generally has no effect on how a presidential candidate performs in that state. The vice presidential home state advantage is, essentially, zero.

On a related note, I should say that it drives me crazy when people start talking about effective senators, like Elizabeth Warren or Jeff Merkley, being named as vice presidential candidates, and this obviously goes triple when it would turn a blue Senate seat red (as with Sherrod Brown.) Vice presidential picks are essentially irrelevant politically, and why would you want to downgrade an effective senator to vice president? I never understand why this is supposed to be a good idea.

Cage-Free Eggs

[ 160 ] April 14, 2016 |

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Walmart has announced it will transition to all cage-free eggs by 2025. What does this mean? Is it a good thing? Is it more ethical to eat eggs now?

If you’re picturing happy flocks of chickens scratching away for insects on a sunny hillside somewhere (the kind of images egg companies love to adorn their cartons with), you’d be wrong. Cage-free facilities can still be industrial-scale chicken farming where thousands of hens spend their lives indoors in what many would consider cramped conditions.

Walmart will require all their egg suppliers to be certified by United Egg Producers and compliant with the trade organization’s Animal Husbandry Guidelines. The UEP—which represents U.S. chicken farmers who own about 95 percent of the country’s laying hens—updated its guidelines this year, including the standards for cage-free operations. Based on the guidelines each hen should be allotted between 1 and 1.5 square feet of space and 6 inches of elevated perch space, and 15 percent of the usable floor of the hen house must be a scratch area. This setup allows the birds to exhibit some of their natural instincts such as dust-bathing, scratching, perching, and wing flapping. There’s no provision that the birds be allowed outdoors.

One issue not fully addressed by Walmart is beak trimming, the practice of removing part of the top and bottom of a bird’s beak in order to prevent the animals from pecking each other in close quarters under stressful conditions—and in some cases cannibalizing each other. (The term “pecking order” is very much rooted in reality.) The procedure is painful, sometimes chronically so, and may reduce the chicken’s ability to eat. The UEP suggests that it only be carried out by “properly trained personnel monitored regularly for quality control,” that egg producers use more docile breeds that don’t require beak trimming, and that the procedure be done only when necessary to prevent feather pecking and cannibalism.

The open question is whether it is possible to have industrial farming of animals under some sort of ethical standards? I maintain that it is possible, or at least it is something we should strive for under any circumstances. Without outside monitoring, I worry that the egg lobby won’t really follow through, but Walmart is a powerful player and that should be the focus of efforts to enforce this. So obviously this is something of an improvement, where a chicken’s life is at least a little bit like a chicken’s life should be. But it’s certainly not great, not with the beak trimming. Chickens are easy enough to have around that people having them in their yards should be encouraged, although not roosters. It’s a small animal that can live a decent life and produce for human consumption without really harming them. As in the rest of the industrial food system, there’s a long ways to go and a lot of work to be done. But at least this is a little something to build upon.

A People’s History of the Marvel Universe, Week 9: The Mutant Metaphor (Part I)

[ 86 ] April 14, 2016 |

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This particular issue  is a long time coming – and fair warning, it’s going to be part one in a multi-part series; this topic is way too big to be covered in one go – because the “mutant metaphor” is absolutely core to the intersection between politics and Marvel Comics, and thus to the brief of this series.

A lot of people have discussed the manifold ways in which the “mutant metaphor” is problematic, but what I’m going to argue in this issue is that a big part of the problem with the “mutant metaphor” is that it wasn’t clearly defined from the outset, in part because it wasn’t anywhere close to the dominant thread of X-Men comics.[i] While always an element of the original run, as much time was spent on fighting giant Kirby robots or stopping the likes of Count Nefaria from encasing Washington D.C in a giant crystal bubble. And this was always problematic, because in the shared Marvel Universe, you need to explain why it is that the X-Men are “feared and hated” and must hide beneath the façade of Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters in Westchester, whereas the Avengers and the Fantastic Four were treated as celebrities and could live openly on Fifth Avenue and Madison Avenue, respectively.[ii]

So what did the “mutant” metaphor mean initially?

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Read more…

Playing by the Rules

[ 333 ] April 14, 2016 |

I have been trying to finish a multi-part blog post for so long now I’ll never blog again if I don’t pop in in the middle of it.  So, hello!  If your Facebook feed is anything like mine, you hear a lot of complaints like the ones by Sanders supporters in this article: Sanders is being cheated in this election.  In my feed, I saw  Wyoming’s delegate apportionment cited as evidence that Clinton was “buying the election,” right next to this extremely useful corrective from Josh Marshall, which argues (and I agree), that the structurally anti-democratic features of the primary race are on balance beneficial to Sanders.  Sanders supporters who are convinced the game is rigged against them are not exactly even-handed when they choose which features of the race to complain about.  When the Sanders campaign explicitly argued that superdelegates should flip to him, even if Clinton led in both the popular vote and in pledged delegates, there were crickets from people who a few weeks earlier were howling about the superdelegates’ affront to democracy.  If the situation were reversed, and Clinton were performing better in caucus states, and Sanders in primary states, we would not hear the end of it.  If Sanders supporters who are lodging these complaints have a deep passion for representative democracy in the primaries, the existence of caucuses should be their first target.

But I don’t just want to point out hypocrisy.   If Hillary Clinton wins the primary, it will be because more people voted for her.  Even if she loses the primary, more people likely will have voted for her.  There are a lot of financial barriers to viability as a candidate, but in a two-person race, when each candidate has money for advertising and GOTV, a Clinton victory will be a sign of the will of the majority of the Democratic electorate.  The complaining about rules (especially when blind to the ways the rules are tilted towards their guy) and the insistence that this primary is a rigged game is a distraction from the fact that they live in a big, diverse country, with a lot of different constituencies, and other people have different opinions from them — even people who might share their values in a lot of ways!  The work of electoral politics is organizing the people who agree with you and persuading the people who don’t.  It’s hard.  I lived in Wisconsin during the recall Walker movement and participated in the protests. After the recall it was common to hear Madisonians complaining that the recall failed because of money in politics.  I found this assertion baffling.  In that particular election, the left-wing critique of Walker could not have been louder or better covered in the media.  There were thousands of mobilized people who could be organized for GOTV.  The recall failed because a majority of the Wisconsin electorate, people with their own intelligence and consciousness and values, decided they supported Walker.  The activity of the protests did not persuade them otherwise.  The right lesson to take from that experience was: our strategy did not achieve our goals.  What do we need to do differently?  The right lesson was not: it’s not fair! And similarly, the Sanders campaign has done remarkably well, but perhaps in the end, not well enough, at least for the goal of getting Sanders the nomination; it still will have accomplished some valuable left-wing muscle flexing either way.  People who are crushingly disappointed by that should be able to recognize that other Democrats just have different opinions than they do, and if they want a presidential nominee from the left wing of the party, they’re going to have to have to be better organized and more persuasive.  I fail to see how complaining that a fairly won election was rigged gets any closer to that goal.  It’s actually just insulting to the people voting for Clinton, whose votes are as valid as anyone else’s.  

What a Cruz Presidency Would Look Like

[ 55 ] April 14, 2016 |

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Ted Cruz’s advisers were behind the North Carolina anti-gay bill.

As he worked to rally evangelical voters a week before North Carolina’s March 15 primary, Ted Cruz gave a speech at a church in the Charlotte suburb of Kannapolis, where he was joined by a trio of prominent local social conservative supporters: Charlotte pastor and congressional candidate Mark Harris and the Benham brothers, the telegenic real estate entrepreneurs whose house-flipping show on HGTV was canceled in 2014 when their history of anti-gay activism came to light. At the event, Cruz thanked Harris for “calling the nation to revival,” and called David and Jason Benham “an extraordinary voice for the Christian faith.”

For years, Harris and the Benhams have been at the forefront of every battle to oppose gay rights in North Carolina. This past February, they were at it again, this time against a nondiscrimination ordinance proposed in Charlotte that, among other things, allowed transgender people to use public restrooms based on their gender identity and protected LGBT people from discrimination by public institutions. The advocacy of these top Cruz supporters against the Charlotte ordinance eventually led the North Carolina legislature to push through one of the most sweeping anti-LGBT measures in the country, a law that has caused a national outcry and caused many companies, including PayPal, to scrap plans to invest in the state. The law, the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act, strikes down all existing and future LGBT nondiscrimination statutes in North Carolina and requires that transgender people use bathrooms based on their sex at birth.

Not that any of you need reminders of what this hell would consist of, but the more you know.

Read the Comments

[ 94 ] April 14, 2016 |

It’s not often you’ll hear me recommend comment sections to a reader…but there’s a reason alicublog is one of my favorite internet haunts–its commentariat is amazing. I’m always asking myself why do I read alicublog? Is it Roy?

“Here, bitch, I used milk with the cheese powder instead of water. Now suck my cock.” Swoon!

Or is it the commentariat?

LittlePig • 20 hours ago
Many men who encounter a true feminist basically cower, act indifferent,
shrug, butter up, charm, demean, ignore, or attempt to flirt.

As opposed to what? This is a damn Zen koan. “Whereas a real man will take off his left shoe, put it on his head, and play The Star Spangled Banner on a kazoo sticking out of his ass…”

EndOfTheWorld LittlePig • 18 hours ago
When a man encounters a feminist he will basically blink, shift his weight from one leg to the other, breathe, pump blood through his veins, tilt his head slightly, blink again, and generate chemical energy with his mitochondria. Every. Single. Time.

I don’t know. I refuse to choose. All I know is that I click on the site a couple times a day hoping to read gems like these; they’re honest-to-gosh day brighteners.

Yesterday Roy took on–because he is a weird masochist into some pretty freaky shit–various Federalist authors butthurting over feminism.

Truly every word from the beginning of the the entry to the last word in the comments is a joy to read. So read. Let’s start this Thursday out on a good note.

This Day in Labor History: April 9, 1865

[ 58 ] April 14, 2016 |

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This post should have gone up on April 9, but sometimes, a professor can become so convinced of a piece of trivia like a date that said professor doesn’t actually look it up and then finds out it is wrong. Speaking of a friend of course.

On April 9, 1865, the traitor Robert E. Lee surrendered his forces to U.S. general Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House, Virginia, effectively ending the Civil War. But while this might have ended the war, the slave labor system the Confederates committed treason to defend was already crumbling. That’s because the slaves, as W.E.B. DuBois noted in his 1935 book Black Reconstruction: An Essay Toward A History of the Part Which Black Folk Played in the Attempt to Reconstruct Democracy in America, 1860-1880, had already committed a general strike by walking away from the plantations. That general strike is the subject of this post.

Slaves wanted freedom from the moment they were enslaved. Whether committing suicide on the slave ships by jumping into the ocean, engaging in open rebellions like Nat Turner or the Stono Rebellion, running away, or just dreaming of a free life, slaves always wanted freedom from the hell of their lives. They took any change to get it. During the American Revolution and the War of 1812, thousands of slaves fled to British lines because of the promise of freedom. Many thousands more would have fled if they could have reached the British.

The Civil War provided another opportunity for that long-cherished freedom. As soon as U.S. troops marched south, slaves began fleeing to their lines. This most famously became an issue for the American armies to deal with when three slaves reached Fort Monroe, Virginia, which was controlled by the U.S. and where General Benjamin Butler was in charge. When the owner came back and demanded the slaves back (by the way, the sheer temerity of Confederates to complain that the U.S. was violating the Fugitive Slave Act, as they did throughout the war, is amazing), Butler refused, classifying the slaves as contraband, although he never used the word. This received the approval of Republicans in Washington, who soon passed the Confiscation Act, which stated that if the Confederacy recognized slaves as property, that the United States had the right to confiscate that property in order to win the war.

But really, even without the Confiscation Act, slaves were going to take matters into their own hands anyway. Slaves like Robert Smalls would take enormous risks for freedom, in his case stealing a boat in the Charleston harbor while dressed as a Confederate ship captain, then picking up the families of the men with him who were at a waiting point, then fleeing north until they ran into an American ship. Smalls became famous for his bravery. Many fled to McClellan’s armies in the Peninsular Campaign in 1862. Planters quickly realized the danger and attempted to move slaves into the Confederate interior, especially western states like Texas and Arkansas. Perhaps most importantly, the slaves forced American officials and the Lincoln government to take the question of slavery seriously. Much to abolitionists’ frustration, Lincoln did not use the outbreak of war to end slavery. Union was his more important issue. But the slaves self-emancipating changed that. Faced with a fait accompli that slaves were going to flee on their own, Lincoln moved toward issuing the Emancipation Proclamation. I do think that Lincoln would have eventually done such a thing anyway, but certainly not in the fall of 1862. Slaves’ desire to flee slavery and then fight for the United States was an overwhelming argument for Lincoln and it shows how slave agency is absolutely central to our understanding of the decline of slave labor as an American institution.

Often, they completely overwhelmed northern armies that were marching in the South. That was especially true of that of William Tecumseh Sherman marching through Georgia and South Carolina. These slaves were often very poor and in terrible health. With the Confederacy going hungry by 1864 generally, slaves were getting less food than ever. But their sheer determination to win their freedom moved Sherman, who was no racial radical. These people were truly starving. Later they remembered scouring the ground to find nuts, roots, or wild greens to get something in their stomachs. Sherman marching through Georgia actually made slaves more hungry, but it also gave them the opportunity to win their freedom. Thousands of refugees were following Sherman’s armies by the time he got to Savannah in December 1864. That doesn’t mean that the officers wanted them. Some embraced the self-freed slaves, others wanted rid of them by any means necessary, but the now freed people were going to do whatever it took for obtain and keep that freedom.

Many of these slaves wanted to join the American military and seek to then fight for their own freedom and that of their loved ones. For example, John Boston fled from the plantation where he was a slavery in Maryland in 1862. He joined the military and later he was able to write to his wife, still stuck in slavery. He wrote, “My Dear Wife it is with grate joy I take to let you know Whare I am i am in Safety in the 14th Regiment of Brooklyn this Day I can Address you thank god as a free man I had a little truble in giting away But as the lord led the Children of Isrel to the land of Canon So he led me to a land Whare freedom Will rain in spite of earth and hell Dear you must make your Self content i am free from all the Slavers.”

This is the promise of freedom. This is how African-Americans self-emancipated. They simply walked away. When Confederate power faded, as it did with the arrival of American armies near plantations where male authority was waning as the war went on because of military service, they took their lives into the own hands. They effectively stopped growing cotton and rice, stopped working in the house, stopped supporting the plantation system. They followed the American army to freedom. They wanted more–primarily land, education, and eventually, the vote. Most of that would be temporary or denied or granted and then repealed in the case of Sherman’s Special Order No. 15 that gave slaves 160 acres of confiscated plantation lands between Charleston and the Florida border. The promises of emancipation would not be fully implemented. But whatever happened, slavery was dead. And it was dead in no small part because the slaves themselves decided they wouldn’t be slaves any longer.

And, not surprisingly, the now-freed slaves joyously rubbed their freedom in their masters’ faces when they could. The brilliant letter from ex-slave Jourdon Anderson to his ex-master Col. P.H. Anderson when the latter wrote to ask him to come back to work on the plantation after the war is the best way to conclude:

Dayton, Ohio,

August 7, 1865

To My Old Master, Colonel P.H. Anderson, Big Spring, Tennessee

Sir: I got your letter, and was glad to find that you had not forgotten Jourdon, and that you wanted me to come back and live with you again, promising to do better for me than anybody else can. I have often felt uneasy about you. I thought the Yankees would have hung you long before this, for harboring Rebs they found at your house. I suppose they never heard about your going to Colonel Martin’s to kill the Union soldier that was left by his company in their stable. Although you shot at me twice before I left you, I did not want to hear of your being hurt, and am glad you are still living. It would do me good to go back to the dear old home again, and see Miss Mary and Miss Martha and Allen, Esther, Green, and Lee. Give my love to them all, and tell them I hope we will meet in the better world, if not in this. I would have gone back to see you all when I was working in the Nashville Hospital, but one of the neighbors told me that Henry intended to shoot me if he ever got a chance.

I want to know particularly what the good chance is you propose to give me. I am doing tolerably well here. I get twenty-five dollars a month, with victuals and clothing; have a comfortable home for Mandy,—the folks call her Mrs. Anderson,—and the children—Milly, Jane, and Grundy—go to school and are learning well. The teacher says Grundy has a head for a preacher. They go to Sunday school, and Mandy and me attend church regularly. We are kindly treated. Sometimes we overhear others saying, “Them colored people were slaves” down in Tennessee. The children feel hurt when they hear such remarks; but I tell them it was no disgrace in Tennessee to belong to Colonel Anderson. Many darkeys would have been proud, as I used to be, to call you master. Now if you will write and say what wages you will give me, I will be better able to decide whether it would be to my advantage to move back again.

As to my freedom, which you say I can have, there is nothing to be gained on that score, as I got my free papers in 1864 from the Provost-Marshal-General of the Department of Nashville. Mandy says she would be afraid to go back without some proof that you were disposed to treat us justly and kindly; and we have concluded to test your sincerity by asking you to send us our wages for the time we served you. This will make us forget and forgive old scores, and rely on your justice and friendship in the future. I served you faithfully for thirty-two years, and Mandy twenty years. At twenty-five dollars a month for me, and two dollars a week for Mandy, our earnings would amount to eleven thousand six hundred and eighty dollars. Add to this the interest for the time our wages have been kept back, and deduct what you paid for our clothing, and three doctor’s visits to me, and pulling a tooth for Mandy, and the balance will show what we are in justice entitled to. Please send the money by Adams’s Express, in care of V. Winters, Esq., Dayton, Ohio. If you fail to pay us for faithful labors in the past, we can have little faith in your promises in the future. We trust the good Maker has opened your eyes to the wrongs which you and your fathers have done to me and my fathers, in making us toil for you for generations without recompense. Here I draw my wages every Saturday night; but in Tennessee there was never any pay-day for the negroes any more than for the horses and cows. Surely there will be a day of reckoning for those who defraud the laborer of his hire.

In answering this letter, please state if there would be any safety for my Milly and Jane, who are now grown up, and both good-looking girls. You know how it was with poor Matilda and Catherine. I would rather stay here and starve—and die, if it come to that—than have my girls brought to shame by the violence and wickedness of their young masters. You will also please state if there has been any schools opened for the colored children in your neighborhood. The great desire of my life now is to give my children an education, and have them form virtuous habits.

Say howdy to George Carter, and thank him for taking the pistol from you when you were shooting at me.

From your old servant,

Jourdon Anderson.

This is the 175th post in this series. Previous posts are archived here.

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