Wednesday, October 29, 2003

The Horrors of Slavery

"Slavery as it existed in the South was not an adversarial relationship with pervasive racial animosity. Because of its dominantly patriarchal character, it was a relationship based upon mutual affection and confidence. There has never been a multi-racial society which has existed with such mutual intimacy and harmony in the history of the world."

Southern Slavery, As It Was

I read an article in the October 28th New York Times that literally kept me from falling asleep. You may have to register to read the article, but it is free.

The article tells the story of Dr. J. Marion Sims, called the father of gynecology. In the 1840s he developed a surgical treatment for vaginal fistulas, which formed because of prolonged labor. Dr. Sims developed his treatment by operating on slave women, without anesthesia. One woman endured the procedure 30 times, without the anesthesia which had then become available.

In his October 28th post, David Neiwert writes in his blog Orcinus about white supremacist efforts to sugar coat slavery and in one case to threaten the life of black Mississippian who plans to establish a museum dedicated to the history of slavey.

I am long overdue in giving David kudos for Orcinus. Before Freedom Rider existed I would email him in response to his posts about fascism. He printed some of my first efforts and in the process encouraged me to keep writing. You can give him partial thanks or blame for Freedom Rider. David performs a great service by writing about white supremacist groups operating throughout the country, a much neglected subject. I also have to thank him for helping me write about Dr. Sims. I didn't know how to channel the pain reading about him caused me.

Do yourself a favor and check out all the links that David gives in his article. By the way, according to the Times there is a monument to Dr. Sims in Central Park. I certainly hope that it will come down.
I am a little tardy in thanking Yesterday they provided a link to my October 23rd post on Orrin Hatch's antics in the Senate Judiciary Committee. I had also neglected to provide a link to that great site. Better late than never.