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NDE are the national educational radio network presents special of the week in the fall of 168. A Congress of Black writers was held in Montreal and encompassed three general themes. A history of slavery. The psychology of subjection and the State of the black revolution in America for the next two weeks special of the week will bring excerpts from this Canadian Conference as recorded for us by the international service of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. This week two speakers C.L. are James and Richard Moore. Mr. James is an historian. He was born in Trinidad in 1901 and has lived in the United States for the past 15 years. See all our James has written numerous articles and books on politics and revolution. Here he speaks briefly on the history of black slavery.
We are dealing with the economics of slavery but property is a relation between people and things. Economics as I understand it as I take it from Marxism is a relation between people so that the relation between the economic history of slavery and the political developments of slavery are very close it is difficult to disassociate them and I will be speaking around one central theme and that theme is Various that without doubt and understanding a penetrative understanding of slavery and of where it came from the African civilizations what has happened to slavery and what is happening today to the result of slavery. It is impossible to understand history atol but I do not think we place our fish and attention to all the African civilizations on what they have meant. Because unless we
understand the African civilization really cannot understand slavery. It is the habit of this is story and these economists and sociologists God bless them to say. The African go in with nothing. He left everything behind that is an entirely incorrect view. He brought himself and he was the finest product of the African civilization. Arrah. Now the other day I heard the young speak of a black man speaking to a public audience and he spoke with such force obviously. Such is the leader of political agitation and liked everything that I took it upon myself I didn't know him at all to write him a letter. I said well I'm old enough to be grandfather I don't see why I shouldn't tell him something of what I have learned
over the years. It will help him. I mean it costs a lot less I said the following. Your speech and your writings. I said first of all the real splendor that I had noticed and it had to do with on the significant role that he was playing and had to play. But I had to say some other things and I went on to say your speech and your writings are completely devoid of a sense of historical development. Not only does your movement need it but the people who are listening to you must be able to take away something so solid and the method so established that altogether apart from the educational value and psychological excitement and Rupert responds their method of thinking is fortified and something has been added to their armory. There was a complete absence of a sense of history. Or rather I should say of historical development. That is to say that you are doing or what you were saying about you and your own movement.
Seem to have begun yesterday and that is why I am paying so much attention to this subject. Under the circumstances that revolution that began in the change from money my little humanity has lasted for ten thousand years and man has not changed very much in between and within that revolution one of the greatest social developments that the world has known and the remnants of it remain up to today are the civilizations that took place in ancient Africa. We are beginning to think about ancient Africa since the end of World War 2 and the independence but the vast field of knowledge still remains that we have to do in order to be able to understand ourselves. I am anxious to quote for you a statement by Mr Levy and I will tell you why I know Basil Davis Stillwell and his work is very fine. But Basil Davison has set out to prove something about the African people. But Mr Levy shelves isn't doing that
and why I am paying attention to him is because he's concerned with clearing up a problem of European thought of European anthropology. He's not interested in the Negro people or such. If he's interested in anything he's interested in people of Indians from Latin America. But in the course of his clarification of the method of thought This is what he says. The Egyptian civilization of which one knows the importance for humanity is intelligible only if it is understood as a common product of Asia and Africa. And now follow this very closely and late great political systems of ancient Africa. It's your ridiculous constructions its philosophical doctrines for a long time hidden from the east its plastic arts and its music which explore methodically all the possibilities offered by each means of expression
are as equally in indices of an extraordinarily fertile past. That is besides directly expressed in by the perfection of the ancient techniques of Brahms one of ivory which surpassed by far. All that Western civilization practiced in those domains at the same time. Now I don't know how much you know I have been reading about Africa for years but a statement of that kind brought home to me the immense gap in our knowledge and understanding of one of the great civilizations of human history in an important period of its development. Now all of this came from there. He was one of those. Unless you understand that you cannot understand the economics of slavery because the economics of Snavely was essentially the relation of the slaves to the European slave owner. And if you do not understand who and what the state was your knowledge of the economic falls apart. You believe he came he was a backward person. He was a primitive person. He was this in the
US in Iraq. He was nothing of the kind. He was one of the most highly developed persons that early civilization has known and in studying slavery I have seen that and I have got to understand it more and more and that is what I mean by the importance of the history of the economics of slavery. Getting to understand the relation between the slave and the slave owner. I will begin by talking about the immense changes that this slave and a slave owner worked in human history because the industrial revolution marks in my view the first fundamental change in ten thousand years of human history. But the Industrial Revolution came about because of a certain development of capitalism that capitalism consisted of primitive accumulation the primitive accumulation in the European countries Marx does very well in capital Vol. 1. But it is perfectly clear
that a great deal perhaps a substantial part of the primitive accumulation which led to the Industrial Revolution and the changing of ten thousand years of human history was the primitive accumulation from slavery to the slave trade and that general did work that was done during those days. And I think it is very important for us to know and be a lot in the mind. Otherwise we are talking about slavery in an academic or Professor professorial or casual manner. We must understand what slavery has meant in the development of the world. Slavery made the foundation of this society with the boldness he represented and which they took over in different governments and without slavery. I make an absolute and extreme statement you can challenge if you wish without slavery. I don't think there would have been such a change at all and I have behind me Col. Marshall talks about American slavery. He says direction Avery is the pivot of Bush what industry as well as
machinery Central. Without slavery you have no cotton. Without God you cannot have modern industry. It is slavery which has given their value to the colonies it was the colonies which have created the commerce of the world which is the essential condition of great industry. Thus slavery is an economic category of the highest importance. Without slavery North America the most progressive country would have been transformed into a patriarchal country if not America from the map of the world and you would have the anarchy become pleat decadence of modern commerce and civilization called slavery to disappear and you will have a face to America from the map of mankind. Now that takes place in regard to America it takes place in regard to the foundation of modern society in Western Europe Britain and France Portugal and Spain became what they were to the slave trade and slavery. And now I want to make another extreme statement.
This slave trade and slavery became the immense sources of wealth and to where because of the type of character and the possibilities that were brought to it by the slaves from Africa there is a historian a man called Sir Richard Gere is a remarkable historian of the West Indies. He's very different from the average West Indian historian who writes one book and then there's not as a historian for 40 years after that. Bill. Piers has kept on doing this work and this particular book of time referring to is a pamphlet called Merchants and planters. I believe it has been published by the Cambridge University Press. And there he proved that in the Caribbean in 1750 it was the slaves who ran those enormously fruitful plantations the slaves around them. They didn't only work in the fields he says that you will read the modern
economist and you get a complete misunderstanding of what was taking place in the slave plantations he says that the state plantations had so much value was essential it was the fact that the land and the forest were worked upon by the slaves and then he goes on to say the experts the man men who were specialists in the working of the factories sugar factories themselves those were the slaves. And then there's another fantastic sentence he says quite often the men who had to do that with those who were rugged and couldn't work in the fields. So they took the Sichuan sick ones and put them in charge of the factories themselves. But they run the factories completely. So when we have that enormous wealth we have to see it as essentially the province of the slaves. I can go so far as to same. Say I could prove it that if the white owners and the middle class brown people who helped them had disappeared altogether the slaves would have been able to run that society and I can draw the obvious
the converse conclusion if the slaves had been brought up but they did it would of fallen apart and that society was one of the greatest sources of wealth of the world has known and laid the foundation for the industrial civilization which I infest I repeat represented the greatest change in human history for ten thousand years. Now that is what they did and that is what slavery means. I mean I want to take Nol the kind of questions the way I will take the black Jacobins because I know son Domingo best we will develop what kind of persons they were. This afternoon Mark clearly but this fellow says this was some coming off from colonial secretary or something. Writing about the slaves he says negroes are unjust cruel barbarous. How human traitorous deceitful thieves drunkards probably.
Give him a chance. Her little A. Are you. Drunkards proud lazy unclean shameless. Just a few are uncalled for you know how and I have little doubt. That when he looked at negroes that is what he saw. I don't think he was just making it up. No that is what he saw and that is why to some degree I'm feeling fairly certain the sleeves showed him because some of the staves had to be beaten before they would go to work they would not move until they had got some love. Maybe the Muslim psychologist would give us some progressive reason for what that was.
That was the fact he needed that. But in a page or two afterwards I have another account of these same slaves of these same slaves who were described in the way that I've just written. I knew this was a very able investigator and a man of a very broad mind whose book is worth reading. Utterly apart from what he has to say about San Domingo. He was barred in the wind for him and he says one has to hear with what wrong and what volubility and at the same time with what precision of ideals and accuracy of judgment this creature heavy and taciturn all day now squatting before his fire tell stories talk just to kill AIDS argues passes opinions approves all condemns both his master and everyone who surrounds him no way did you get that from they didn't educate him. I said simply if that was the attitude that he had when he was by himself he
brought back with him from Africa because those masses didn't teach that to him. If he was an Advil was an advantage. It meant he came from one definite form of society made the Middle Passage and then went into another one. And he was able to learn all that he learned because of the civilization that he came from had prepared him for the kind of work and the kind of communities that were given to him and which he took full advantage of. And may I say this without giving offense. I know the difficulties and weaknesses of the West Indian people and of the African people to have lived in the United States for 15 years but they have been free legally since 1865. We have been free things in 33 and 34 and they did some nonsense and kept it in the third year. It is not yet one hundred and fifty years but there is no world there is no
kind of activity. There is no responsibility in the highly developed situation of the Caledonian. I'm pretty certain in the United States that are people not yet from slavery one hundred and fifty years are not able themselves look out of the old or are in the possibility of studying it and doing what is required to maintain an advanced civilization that in my opinion is one of the most tremendous achievements in human history. I'm cold only have taken place when he came he brought something substantial with him. 11 no are a few words of this society that was formed in the United States among the slave. Here is Frederick Douglas speaking of the slaves you knew before he ran away. For much of the happiness or absence of misery with which I pass this year I am indebted to the
genial temper and hardened friendship of my brother slaves. There where every one of them manly generous and brave. Yes I say they were brave and I will add fine looking It is seldom the lot of anyone to have cruel and better friends than where this lives on this farm. It was not uncommon to child slaves with great history towards each other. But I must say I never loved steamed or confided in men more than I did in them. And this he was writing after he had known Western Civilization very fully as few men would have the opportunity to investigate all parts of it. They were as true as steel and no band of brothers could be more loving their way no mean advantages taking of each other. Nor Kathleen nor giving each other bad names. Good Mr. Freeland and no elevating one at the expense of the other. We never undertook anything of any
importance which was unlikely to affect each other without mutual consultation. We were generally a unit and move together. Faults and commitments were exchanged between us which might well have been considered incendiary. Had they been known by all masters this slave holder where he kind or cruel was a slave holder still every other violator of the just and nearly in the rights of man when he was there for every hour silently but surely waiting the knife of vengeance for his own throat. He never lift a syllable in commendation of the fathers of this republic without inviting the sword and asserting the right of rebellion for his own slaves. You see what has happened there. These slaves of reste less high standards of social and individual collective development that the Jew speaks about because they adopted this situation to the demands and statements of the American Declaration of
Independence and its conception of what democracy should be. That's what they love and I say again they couldn't have learned this unless they had some sort of civilization some sort of conception of what civilized life love and Douglas does just what they wear this hype that this kind of person you could not get a better set of people anywhere and it was slaves just before slavery was abolished and you enjoy studying what we have to do. History of African civilization where we are today where we will be tomorrow master the knowledge and information that's been accumulated. Take it away from the book as you will have it and use it for the purposes that we want to use it for. C L R James an historian born in Trinidad now living in the United States speaking on the history of slavery at the Congress of Black writers in Montreal. Next another historian Richard Moore. Born in Barbados Mr. Bohrer has for many years tried
to give people of African descent a greater awareness of their history and their development. Richard Moore Robert chairman fellow sufferers from colonialism and fellow seekers after truth justice and a better society I speak to you now on African civilizations. According to the assignment given to me. But I am like my younger brother in disagreement with the term civilization. He's never been able to find it. And I recognize that this concept of his nation looks
as it has been used by European colonialists connotes a big but simple Peter your manner of acting our way in life and especially is this recognized in Cancun this shown to that which is by them regarded. As barbarism or savagery. The Western European is supposed to have achieved civilization whereas all their. Colored peoples be they considered yellow or black particularly the black have never achieved civilization. According to my view nor is it possible for these benighted blacks ever to a day and sure it is Asian if left to themselves. Such is the sad and deep seated opinion and feeling of European
colonialists and European American. Racist overlords one that I believe this usage of the term civilisation is misleading and forms the term civilisation has no definite scientific content. Of course there have been some students like Elliot Morgan in his engine society who have attempted to put some scientific connotation into this term but their proposals have been inadequate and one is more to the point they have never gotten through. To the people even to the generality of scholars in their own are probably feels so to this day among European we follow their spokesman and even among some unwilling in the guard our only functions
followers. Centralization is the you will need accompli. All of these superior Europeans I have this thing from the barbarism and savagery of Asian and African peoples. Let me point to one example. So you will understand that I am not. Don't you want me to think that windmills are no less a person than the world renowned British historian. I'm a little jaded toi be in his shoes. A study of history has declared that all the several civilizations which he has perceived and recognized as such. None has been created by the black race. Now it should be noted that in order to make this sweeping condemnation of what he is pleased to call the black race
this spokesman of the British power structure finds it necessary to act clueless from this black race. The Dravidian with which race is indeed really the figment of his own imagination because there is no such thing as race. In fact in life in nature there's only recently consciousness and idea of man. And race is it tracked very shortly we will have to dispense with it if we are profiling a basis for survival for all we believe that one can racism we are correct. With such you one conflict and with the means already developed for human destruction charges of timely bombs on the light. Who will be left. What race will be left. It seems
none. Therefore we had better begin to put our emphasis not on one race but upon the human species. So. Don't be have to exclude the Dravidian people most of whom are much darker in color than the speaker or most of us in this room. Perhaps many others in this room and he went on to sever the junctions from. Black Friday. No. Please mark that the Egyptians were people who in the main came from the south of Egypt. That is from inner Africa according to their own tradition. They came from the south of Egypt and developed and maintained total for all the Founders Room years for millennia at least. The most complex loves during this and happy way on the
life that the world had ever known. The Japanese then were on the night of Billie and African people on the most highly developed and thus founding culture known up to their time and who still compare Flamborough really with any so-called civilization that has since been achieved in the light of the foregoing Then permit me to float and to bypass this racist crap. Called whole civilization. Of course it is obvious that just as the institution of chattel slavery was basically responsible for the oppression and exploitation of people of African descent when it dominated the situation that the system of system that the economic system of capitalism which succeeded each other slavery
is likewise responsible for the oppression and exploited in the sense which followed. And. Not only responsible. For such a situation but also for the oppression and exploitation albeit to a lesser degree of people of European ancestry as well. Now the question involved here is whether it is possible within the framework of capitalism to achieve. Human rights for the most oppressed minority group that is the Afro-American. Well. I don't know that we need to try to settle this because
Special of the week
Issue 4-1969
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APA: Special of the week; Issue 4-1969. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from