Sunday, September 19, 2021

Whoever Stealeth a Man...

A crack, and a cry of pain, sounded off to Stuart's right, but he paid it no mind as he harvested the sugarcane. It was normal to him now, after several months of this. The sun was high, and Stuart's mind drifted back to home. For Stuart was not his real name. His real name was Quobna Ottobah Cugoano. He was thirteen years old. He was far from home, and he missed it terribly. The year was 1770, and Ottobah had been staying for three months with his uncle. His uncle lived by the coast, a three-day walk from Ottobah's hometown of Ajumako, where Ottobah had grown up in the company of the children of the local chief, Ambro Accasa. But while he stayed with his uncle, he was in another chief's territory. All this was in what today we'd call Ghana. Ottobah, age 13, had been playing together in a field in the brush – catching birds, picking fruit – with his cousins and their friends one day. Suddenly, large grown men with cutlasses and pistols surrounded them, telling them to stay still or die. About eighteen or twenty youths were taken hostage that day, under a fearful threat of death.

The children were split up, and each group taken on a long walk, from village to village in unfamiliar territory. In about a week, Ottobah and his guide, who made a great show of being friendly and supportive and desiring to get Ottobah back home to his family after a stop at the shore for supplies, reached a town where, for the first time, Ottobah saw a few people with white faces. He was terrified. The tales he'd heard in childhood suggested that the white-faced people might eat him. And he had a hard time sleeping through the night. Morning came, and his guide led him to the castle on the coast. Ottobah was readily held fast by his fear of death. Along the way, Ottobah saw horrible things – men of his own Fanti tribe chained to each other, their hands tied. And when they reached the castle, Ottobah's guide accepted, from one of the white-faced people, a few things – a gun, some lead, and a piece of cloth – and abandoned him there in exchange for them. Ottobah had been sold.

Kept in the darkness of a prison for three days, Ottobah was then hastened to a ship, stuffed in the hold with the other men, surrounded by groaning voices, rattling chains, the ear-splitting crack of whips. The ship sailed from the seaside fortress to Cape Coast, where they were transferred to a second ship which set sail across the ocean. Day after day, night after night, thirteen-year-old Ottobah endured the misery of the ship's dark hold, until at length they reached the island of Grenada in the West Indies. Separated by the Atlantic from everyone he ever knew and loved, Ottobah and the others were put to work on one of Grenada's sugarcane plantations, so that the other white-faced people in a far-off land could enjoy sweet things off the sweat of Ottobah's back.

On the plantation, Ottobah lived in terror, as he had since he was kidnapped in the woods. During his months in Grenada, Ottobah witnessed some of his fellow slaves having their teeth knocked out for tasting the sugarcane; others had teeth pulled as a precautionary measure. Daily he watched his companions being lashed. The white-faced people – whose language he only at length began to understand – spoke of something called 'Christianity.' But when one of Ottobah's fellow-slaves attempted to join them at church one Sunday, they told him to get back into the fields to work – and to enforce the lesson, they gave the slave twenty-four lashes with a whip for going to church. 'Slave' – that, in the most literal and brutal term, was what Ottobah Cugoano had been made.1 Ottobah described how “slave procurers... often steal and kidnap many..., and sell them from one to another, so that if they are sought after and detected, the thieves are seldom found.”2 Ottobah was forever infuriated by “that infamous and iniquitous traffic of stealing, kidnapping, buying, selling, and cruelly enslaving men.”3

Notice that word he uses: 'stealing.' At the root of Ottobah's understanding of what happened to him, he was the victim of theft. It wasn't a theft of any particular thing he owned. It was the theft of himself. He'd been stolen – his whole person. And Ottobah was right to think that. In the next chapter after the Most High thundered to the earth, “Thou shalt not steal” (Exodus 20:15), the very next time God uses that verb, he applies it to exactly Ottobah's situation: “Whoever steals a man and sells him, and anyone found in possession of him, shall be put to death” (Exodus 21:16). Kidnapping is a form of stealing. People can be stolen. That's what the slave trade was built on: people-stealing. That was very different from the sorts of debt-servitude that the people of Israel practiced among themselves (Exodus 21:1-11). No, this was like what Joseph's brothers did to him: steal him and sell him away. And God says here in his law, whoever steals a person is committing a crime. Whoever then sells a stolen person is committing a crime. Anybody who buys is equally guilty. And it's a capital crime.

Now, that law was given to Israel before the Golden Calf incident. But after the Golden Calf, when Israel had proved itself incapable of welcoming their God in holiness, a further law was added because of their hard hearts and continued transgressions (Galatians 3:19). And in that further law, this law is repeated, though only as it especially applies to fellow Israelites: “If a man is found stealing one of his brothers of the people of Israel, and if he treats him as a slave or sells him, then that thief shall die. So shall you purge the evil from your midst” (Deuteronomy 24:7). Down through the centuries of the old covenant, God did not punish their sins as their childishly stubborn hearts deserved. But they still had both laws on the books. And from the laws, later Jewish writings were frequently aware that kidnapping, trafficking, slave-trading – these weren't just offenses against God's commandment, they were perhaps the central offenses against God's commandment not to steal.

And so when the Apostle Paul writes to Timothy, he reminds Timothy that God didn't give these laws because we were so good and righteous. No, he gave laws because we were lawless. And so, for Timothy's benefit, he launches into a list of sins and crimes that's patterned after the Ten Commandments. Where God said not to have other gods or make graven images, Paul denounces “the lawless and disobedient.” Where God said not to take his name in vain, Paul calls out “the ungodly and sinners.” Where God said to keep his Sabbath holy, Paul opposes “the unholy and profane.” Where God said to honor father and mother, Paul points to “those who strike their fathers and mothers.” God said not to murder, so Paul condemns “murderers.” Where God said not to commit adultery, Paul points to “the sexually immoral” and to “men who practice homosexuality.” And now, where God said not to steal, Paul's list catches up to “enslavers.” That's the utmost violation of this law. Paul uses a Greek word for 'man-sellers,' 'slave-dealers,' 'enslavers.' To Paul, that's the worst kind of stealing: when you enslave or sell human beings. It's to such people that God lays down his law (1 Timothy 1:9-10).

And then when John details his visions, he's very pointed in condemning the slave trade of the Roman Empire. Picturing Roman power as the new expression of ancient Babylon, the old captor and oppressor in whose lands God's people lived in exile, John hears merchants weeping when they think of all the luxury goods they'd miss buying and selling if Rome's Babylon were to collapse. And the list climaxes, John tells us, with “slaves” – and John, inspired by the Holy Spirit, editorializes: “that is, human souls” (Revelation 18:13). To those merchants, slaves are just another commodity; it's no different from trading in silk or spice or sheep. John says it's a twisted economy that can no longer distinguish souls from stuff. In such confusion, naturally the merchants buy and sell and traffick in souls – living human beings – as reduced to mere cargo. Such they did to Ottobah Cugoano.

After eight or nine months on the sugarcane plantation, teenage Ottobah was sold to a man named Alexander Campbell, who had him work for a year at other places in the West Indies but then took him to England, treating him with relative kindness. He allowed Ottobah to learn to read and write, and even sent him to school to learn. Through that, Ottobah was introduced to the Bible, “that inestimable compilation of books.”4 The other slaves helped Ottobah make his way one Friday in August 1773 to St. James's Church on Piccadilly in London, and there Ottobah was baptized into Jesus Christ. And he was set free. In time, he found employment from a local painter, he made social connections, and he joined a group of black Londoners called the Sons of Africa. In 1787, he not only wrote his story and sentiments, he sent copies to princes and parliamentarians.5 And about the slave trade, Ottobah minced no words: “I would have my African countrymen to know and understand,” he said, “that the destroyers and enslavers of men can be no Christians, for Christianity is the system of benignity and love, and all its votaries are devoted to honesty, justice, humanity, meekness, peace, and good-will to all men.” Those who claim the name of 'Christian' while keeping slaves are, Ottobah said, “abominable liars,” the “greatest enemies” of Christianity, and should “be called by its opposite: the Antichrist.”6 For, he said:

Thus saith the law of God: 'If a man be found stealing any of his neighbors, or he that stealeth a man (let him be who he will) and selleth him, or that maketh merchandise of him, or if he be found in his hand, then that thief shall die.' However, in all modern slavery among Christians, who ought to know this law, they have not had any regard to it. … It ought to be double death, if it was possible, when a man is robbed of himself, and sold into captivity and cruel slavery.7

Ottobah was right. The Christians of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries had every reason to be aware that the whole slave trade was a crime against God's law, and so was chattel slavery itself. So why didn't they? This week I was curious about that, so I read any old defense of slavery I could find that addressed this question. It was even flimsier than I expected. Those who didn't just brush off God's word altogether made five different excuses. 

  1. The first excuse they tried was to appeal to Deuteronomy to say that stealing people is only wrong if they're your own people, but people outside your race and faith are fair game.8 
    • But the abolitionists of the time showed how clearly wrong that was: the added law made some allowances that no longer apply after Christ, since now the whole human race is revealed as our brothers and sisters; and if all are our brothers and sisters, then this commandment must grant them protection against being stolen by us.9 
  2. The second excuse enslavers tried was to say that the law in Exodus against stealing people was really about stealing slaves away from their legal owner.10 
    • But the abolitionists of the time pointed out that if God had meant that, he would've condemned stealing 'slaves,' not stealing 'people'; and if human beings are being treated as just another kind of property, then there's no explanation why this property theft is punished with death instead of a fine like every other theft.11 
  3. The third excuse enslavers tried was to say that their slaves became slaves not through nefarious kidnapping but through losing a war or being punished for a crime, and so were fair game so far as this law is concerned, for it only prevents slavery through kidnapping and not other means.12 
    • But again, the abolitionists asked, “Does not all the world know that they were kidnapped on the African coast and brought to the American continent?”13 The prevalence of kidnapping as a source for the African slave trade was a fact widely enough known to render the enslavers' pleas pointless!  And the abolitionists pointed out that it was precisely because white people were eager to buy slaves that African coastal chiefs had greater incentives to wage unjust wars and to punish excessively by enslaving – these, too, then, were a kind of stealing, being engaged in with a major motive to procure human beings for sale as though property.14 
  4. The fourth excuse enslavers tried was that, yes, the stealing in Africa was wrong, but once the slave had crossed the ocean, being bought nullified his own rights of self-governance and self-ownership: possession is nine-tenths of the law, after all, so slavery was essentially treated as justified by negating the original right.15 
    • The abolitionists made short work of that, too: the buyer and holder is just as guilty of theft as the original stealer, if he knows he has a stolen person and refuses to set him free.16 
  5. And finally, the fifth excuse enslavers might have tried was that perhaps buying and selling the originally stolen people as slaves was wrong, but their children and grandchildren were born into slavery, and so were fair game by lacking any legally recognized birthright to freedom. 
    • But the abolitionists wouldn't let that pass, either. “Does not he who for gain buys, sells, or keeps in slavery the descendants of those who were unjustly deprived of their freedom thereby justify the original act and put himself in the place of the first aggressor?” they asked.17

The relentless rebuttals of the abolitionists to every feeble excuse of the enslavers mean that it should have been as obvious then to them, as it is now to us, that the whole slave system – including the chattel slavery of America as well as the trans-Atlantic slave trade itself – stood under the righteous sentence of God. Unmistakably, it was a gross violation of this commandment, even before being compounded by violence, cruelty, and hatred. Difficult as it may be to acknowledge this, the hard truth is that a considerable number of the Founding Fathers of this nation were guilty not only of a sin, but of a crime over which God had decreed the death penalty in his law. We can honor them for the good they otherwise did, but that crime is a strict limit and shameful stain on their legacy. After them, for generations, the laws of this nation defended and protected what God called a crime. The government even invested taxpayers' money – used funding extracted via taxation from our families, in many cases – to protect that system, by taking people who escaped to freedom and forcing them back into slavery, on our ancestors' dime.18 Just as abortion is a grievous national sin today, slavery then – including the internal slave trade that survived domestically for decades after the international slave trade was banned – does not just stain the individuals who participate. Sins like these undermine and call into question the government that allows them. They defile the land where these crimes openly happen. And they ensnare us all, until the evil is duly purged.

Last Sunday, we reflected on Leviticus 6, where God outlined the four steps to dealing with the guilt of theft. The first step was to make full restoration of whatever had been stolen: to set it free to its original and proper owner. The second step was to provide additional reparation, the fifth added to it. The third step was to make a prompt delivery, as soon as the guilt was realized. And the fourth step was to make atonement to the Lord, for every crime against our neighbor is a sin against God also. What would it have looked like for Leviticus 6 to be honored after slavery? It would have begun with emancipation. It would have continued with compensation, something to repair the injury done, cover the time when people were stolen from themselves. And that would have been delivered promptly and with apology, as soon as the nation became aware of our guilt.19 Finally, all that would have been caught up in a national come-to-Jesus moment over our great national sin.  Per Leviticus 6, that's what should have been done.

But very little of that happened in our history. Oh, many of those freed from slavery certainly asked for it! As early as the late 1700s, a few former slaves managed to sue for lump-sum payments.20 Gen. Sherman tried to set aside some abandoned lands to be distributed to former slaves – each family to get forty acres and the rental of an army mule21 – but the plan was scrapped by President Johnson once he took office. Organizations later formed that helped thousands of former slaves, and later their children, to petition Congress for government pensions as reparation for the same government having defended in law their enslavement to decades of unpaid labor – all to no avail but repression.22 It might fairly be said, these many years later, that a considerable amount of our national tension today has been a direct result of a refusal to believe that God was deadly serious when he said “Thou shalt not steal,” and equally serious when he said to really and meaningfully repent in the wake of such stealing. Because if we had nationally believed and nationally put into action God's word on this point at any time in the past couple centuries, America would be blessed with a deeper peace than she now is.23

But slavery is not a thing of the past – not even in America. Today, we now have a new word for it. When it happens in America today, we call it 'human trafficking.' It doesn't thrive in the open. But it's slavery.24 It's still stealing people, treating them as possessions to be owned, denying their God-given dignity as bearers of his image, and carrying them as cargo. Every year, it's estimated that around fifteen thousand or more people are being trafficked into the United States from outside, to be kept here as slaves. That's in addition to an unknown number of Americans who are trafficked within our borders for the same purpose. Those figures make this a crime as common as murder, or more so, even though it's rarely caught and even less commonly prosecuted.25 So far as we can tell, about half are victims of sex trafficking, another quarter are victims of domestic labor trafficking, and many of the rest are victims of agricultural labor trafficking.26

If that sounds like an 'out-there' problem, Pennsylvania is one of the top ten states for human trafficking. In 2018, 621 trafficking victims were identified – and likely thousands of others weren't – in Pennsylvania.27 Interstates 81 and 78 are both “major arteries for sex trafficking.”28 Last year, a man was sentenced to up to 141 years in prison for co-running a trafficking ring that included our county.29 A few months ago, state police announced having shut down a trafficking ring in Berks County. One of the accused traffickers is a woman from Lancaster.30 That hits pretty close to home, doesn't it? It's here – and experts on human trafficking recognize that churches “can be instrumental in... raising awareness of human trafficking, pressuring governments to pass and enforce laws against human trafficking, and to protect and assist trafficked victims.”31

That's not even touching the fact that, even when slavery takes place elsewhere in the world, it still touches our lives. In industry after industry, a portion of the goods and resources that make their way to the United States were at some point worked or made by slaves. It might be iron or steel smelted by slaves in Brazil, that made its way into your car. It might be a mineral in your phone that was mined across the world by slaves. It might be frozen fish you buy in the store, harvested by slaves in Asia. It might be clothes woven by slaves in factories overseas. It's been suggested that, in small quantities, each of us may – in a given week – unknowingly eat, use, or wear something that relied on slave labor in its production.32 And our hearts should break at the thought.

Our hearts should break because each and every human being was born to be free, was made free by God in the beginning. But Adam and Eve sold their whole line into slavery for the price of a bite of fruit – slavery in one way or another. Because all of us, in our natural state outside Eden, are “slaves of sin” (Romans 6:17-20). And we have been maintained and subjected to this “lifelong slavery” through the “fear of death,” held captive by “the one who has the power of death – that is, the devil” (Hebrews 2:14-15). And so in the world, we spend what we call our lives with our souls being trafficked from one sin to the next, one idol to the next, one situation to the next. “For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved” (2 Peter 2:19). And sometimes, that expresses itself outwardly in the specific sin of human trafficking. But even those who enslave men, women, and children – who buy and sell human souls as cargo – are themselves, in their spirits, slaves already to sin. As are we all, by nature. In that condition, we have each “presented our body parts as slaves to impurity and lawlessness” (Romans 6:19).

But then Jesus appeared, the Free Man from heaven, the Redeemer who came to buy us back to his birthright, to break our chains, to destroy our captor. Taking the outward appearance of a slave himself, he was perfectly obedient all the way to the cross (Philippians 2:7-8). Through his death and resurrection to divine freedom, he stepped forward to “deliver all those who, through fear of death, were subject to lifelong slavery” (Hebrews 2:15). Jesus “gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness” (Titus 2:14). “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36). And “the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:2). “You are no longer a slave, but a son” (Galatians 4:7). Not only that, but we are just the beginning. Christ's invitation to freedom is a promise of the day when “the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God” (Romans 8:21).

In light of this freedom and this promise, we're called to guard carefully against seducers who “slipped in to spy out our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might bring us into slavery” to sin or to the added laws and elements that merely tutored humanity until Christ came (Galatians 2:4). For now we have freedom to serve God as free and mature people, to love him in substance and not only in symbol. We have freedom to have our hearts changed and to relate to God as our genuine Father. Every heresy that aims to infect the Church, every attempt to sway God's people to something other than the pure faith of Christ, may bill itself as a more liberated life or a richer experience, but it leads away from the mature freedom of Christ. Every grave falsehood about God, about Jesus, about the Spirit, about the Church, about the Christian life, is a form of slavery of the soul – it offers us idols and their chains instead of Christ and his way.

For freedom Christ has set us free” in baptism, when he submerged us in an infinite pool of grace and anointed our hearts with the Spirit of his love. That was when Ottobah became truly free33 – and so have we, if we (like him) “stand firm, therefore,” in a faith that works through love, “and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery” to the fear of death (Galatians 5:1). Don't submit to sin. Don't submit to falsehood. And don't submit to resigning yourself to the status quo of the world. For our freedom was given to us “as an opportunity” to “through love serve one another” (Galatians 5:13). And that free service includes many things. But among them is enlistment by Christ in his mission to “proclaim good news to the poor” and “to set at liberty those who are oppressed” (Luke 4:18). And maybe that looks like showing our nation how to grapple with the sins of its past not yet repaired. Maybe that looks like keeping a watchful eye in our county for signs of trafficking or having been kidnapped. Maybe that looks like declaring the good news that sets souls free from sin, from lies, from the fear of death. And maybe that means battering slavery in all its forms with the arsenal of our prayers, as they rise to heaven and fall to earth in flame (Revelation 8:3-5). May the world see in us our Redeemer who 'died to make us holy.' May all of us show forth his amazing grace. And may each of us 'live to make all free.'


Lord God of Liberty, you gave each of us freedom as our birthright – freedom not to slave after the passions of the flesh, freedom not to do whatever's right in each's own eyes, but freedom to offer ourselves to righteousness and to serve one another through love. And yet with sin in the world, some have been so audacious as to steal the bearers of your very image away from the freedom that is their birthright. And our enjoyment of life in your world has been shaded by the shadow of such thefts. O God, forgive us for the burdens of the past, and inspire us to a perfect repentance. Forgive us for the webs of present sin, and inspire us to live to set all free. Forgive us for the slowness of our love and the shortness of our vision. Pour out your Spirit, in whom there is only liberty. Call us again to the freedom of Christ, that the chains of sin might crumble and that we might go forth to announce freedom to the world, to work for freedom in the world, and to hope for the freedom of the world when your Son, our Redeemer, returns and returns to all everything that sin has stolen. In Jesus Christ, Heaven's Freedom, we send you up this prayer. Send it back down in lightning, thunder, and holy flame! Amen.

1  Quobna Ottobah Cugoano, Thoughts and Sentiments on the Evil and Wicked Traffic of the Slavery and Commerce of the Human Species, Humbly Submitted to the Inhabitants of Great Britain, by Ottobah Cugoano, a Native of Africa (1787), in Henry Louis Gates Jr. and William L. Anderson, eds., Pioneers of the Black Atlantic: Five Slave Narratives from the Enlightenment, 1772-1815 (Counterpoint, 1998), 88-89, 92-96.

2  Quobna Ottobah Cugoano, Thoughts and Sentiments... (1787), in Henry Louis Gates Jr. and William L. Anderson, eds., Pioneers of the Black Atlantic: Five Slave Narratives from the Enlightenment, 1772-1815 (Counterpoint, 1998), 105.

3  Quobna Ottobah Cugoano, Thoughts and Sentiments... (1787), in Henry Louis Gates Jr. and William L. Anderson, eds., Pioneers of the Black Atlantic: Five Slave Narratives from the Enlightenment, 1772-1815 (Counterpoint, 1998), 89.

4  Quobna Ottobah Cugoano, Thoughts and Sentiments... (1787), in Henry Louis Gates Jr. and William L. Anderson, eds., Pioneers of the Black Atlantic: Five Slave Narratives from the Enlightenment, 1772-1815 (Counterpoint, 1998), 97.

5  Ryan Hanley, Beyond Slavery and Abolition: Black British Writing, c.1770-1830 (Cambridge University Press, 2019), 179.

6  Quobna Ottobah Cugoano, Thoughts and Sentiments... (1787), in Henry Louis Gates Jr. and William L. Anderson, eds., Pioneers of the Black Atlantic: Five Slave Narratives from the Enlightenment, 1772-1815 (Counterpoint, 1998), 140-141.

7  Quobna Ottobah Cugoano, Thoughts and Sentiments... (1787), in Henry Louis Gates Jr. and William L. Anderson, eds., Pioneers of the Black Atlantic: Five Slave Narratives from the Enlightenment, 1772-1815 (Counterpoint, 1998), 128-129.

8  Richard Nisbet, Slavery Not Forbidden by Scripture; or, a Defence of the West-India Planters from the Aspersions Thrown Out Against Them... (John Sparhawk, 1773), 7-8.

9  “Shall Kentucky Continue a Slave State,” The [Louisville] Examiner (14 April 1849): 1; “The African Slave Trade,” The Eastern Clarion (31 August 1859): 2.

10  “The Fallacy,” The Weekly Mississippian (9 November 1849): 2; Thornton Stringfellow, Scriptural and Statistical Views in Favor of Slavery (J. W. Randolph, 1856), 69.

11  Theodore Dwight Weld, The Bible Against Slavery (American Anti-Slavery Society, 1838), 12-14.

12  “Has a Man a Right to Hold Property in Man?”, The Charleston Mercury (21 February 1834): 2; cf. David Cooper, A Mite Cast into the Treasury; or, Observations on Slave-Keeping (Joseph Crukshank, 1772), 7. There was perhaps some statistical truth behind this: see Jeremy Black, The Atlantic Slave Trade in World History (Routledge, 2015), 31.

13  “Thoughts on Emancipation – No. 22,” The [Louisville] Examiner (8 April 1848): 3. See also the admission of former slave-ship surgeon (turned abolitionist) Alexander Falconbridge, An Account of the Slave Trade on the Coast of Africa (J. Phillips, 1788), 13: “There is great reason to believe that most of the negroes shipped off from the coast of Africa are kidnapped.”

14  James Swan, A Dissuasion to Great-Britain and the Colonies from the Slave-Trade to Africa (E. Russell, 1772), 23; Charles Crawford, Observations upon Negro-Slavery (Eleazar Oswald, 1790), 43; cf. Jeremy Black, The Atlantic Slave Trade in World History (Routledge, 2015), 86.

15  “Has a Man a Right to Hold Property in Man?”, The Charleston Mercury (21 February 1834): 2; “Letters from a Clergyman – No. IX,” Richmond Examiner (16 May 1851): 1; William A. Smith, Lectures on the Philosophy and Practice of Slavery, as Exhibited in the Institution of Domestic Slavery in the United States (Stevenson and Evans, 1856), 159-164. Slaveholders were desperate to distinguish slave-holding from slave trading – see discussion in Adam Rothman, “The Domestication of the Slave Trade in the United States,” in Walter Johnson, ed., The Chattel Principle: Internal Slave Trades in the Americas (Yale University Press, 2004), 32-33.

16  Nathanael Appleton, Considerations on Slavery, in a Letter to a Friend (Edes and Gill, 1767), 11; David Cooper, A Mite Cast into the Treasury; or, Observations on Slave-Keeping (Joseph Crukshank, 1772), 10; Quobna Ottobah Cugoano, Thoughts and Sentiments... (1787), in Henry Louis Gates Jr. and William L. Anderson, eds., Pioneers of the Black Atlantic: Five Slave Narratives from the Enlightenment, 1772-1815 (Counterpoint, 1998), 158.

17  David Cooper, A Mite Cast into the Treasury; or, Observations on Slave-Keeping (Joseph Crukshank, 1772), 7.

18  This was a major point of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, and was indeed carried out in practice – see Stanley W. Campbell, The Slave Catchers: Enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Law, 1850-1860 (University of North Carolina Press, 1970 [1968]), 114f., and Don E. Fehrenbacher, The Slaveholding Republic: An Account of the United States Government's Relations to Slavery (Oxford University Press, 2001), 231f.  For another treatment of the extent to which the federal government apparatus was turned to the advancement on slavery both domestically and internationally, see Matthew Karp, This Vast Southern Empire: Slaveholders at the Helm of American Foreign Policy (Harvard University Press, 2016).

19  The importance of apology as the core of redress for slavery is emphasized by, e.g., Roy L. Brooks, Atonement and Forgiveness: A New Model for Black Reparations (University of California Press, 2004), 142.

20  Ana Lucia Araujo, Reparations for Slavery and the Slave Trade: A Transnational and Comparative History (Bloomsbury Academic, 2009), 48-50.

21  Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman, “Special Field Order No. 15,” 16 January 1865, in Roy L. Brooks, ed., When Sorry Isn't Enough: The Controversy over Apologies and Reparations for Human Injustice (New York University Press, 1999), 365-366.

22  Ana Lucia Araujo, Reparations for Slavery and the Slave Trade: A Transnational and Comparative History (Bloomsbury Academic, 2009), 83-84, 95-108.

23  A few different modern reparations proposals are noted in Michael O. Emerson and George Yancey, Transcending Racial Barriers: Toward a Mutual Obligations Approach (Oxford University Press, 2011), 53, though they do not endorse anything in particular.

24  Silvia Scarpa, Trafficking in Human Beings: Modern Slavery (Oxford University Press, 2008), 4.

25  Kevin Bales and Ron Soodalter, The Slave Next Door: Human Trafficking and Slavery in America Today (University of California Press, 2009), 6-7.

26  Kevin Bales and Ron Soodalter, The Slave Next Door: Human Trafficking and Slavery in America Today (University of California Press, 2009), 12.

27  Data cited from “Human Trafficking is Modern-Day Slavery,” Pennsylvania House Republican Caucus, <>.

28  Rachel Yonkunas, “What's Being Done to Combat Human Trafficking in Pa.,” FOX43, 22 July 2021. <>.

29  “Case Update: Lancaster Human Trafficker Sentenced to Up to 141 Years,” Office of Attorney General, 13 August 2020. <>.

30  Anne Shannon, “3 People, Including Lancaster County Woman, Accused of Human Trafficking,” WGAL8, 27 July 2021. <>.

31  Alexis A. Aronowitz, Human Trafficking, Human Misery: The Global Trade in Human Beings (Praeger Publishers, 2009), 150.

32  Kevin Bales and Ron Soodalter, The Slave Next Door: Human Trafficking and Slavery in America Today (University of California Press, 2009), 137-149.

33  Quobna Ottobah Cugoano, Thoughts and Sentiments... (1787), in Henry Louis Gates Jr. and William L. Anderson, eds., Pioneers of the Black Atlantic: Five Slave Narratives from the Enlightenment, 1772-1815 (Counterpoint, 1998), 88.

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