Monday, September 13, 2021

Book Review: "Slavery in the North by Marc Howard Ross


Book review:

Just finished "Slavery in the North - Forgetting History and Recovering Memory" by Marc Howard Ross.

The author goes into detail about the role of the North, its shipbuilders, businessmen, and politicians who not only ran the slave trade through Northern ports, but benefited greatly from it. He points out the names of those who contributed their ill gotten gains to businesses and colleges in the North, and whose names are still prominent on/at those schools. Those of us from the South, who know more than a little about our history, as well as that of the nation at large, have been pointing this out for many years now.

As the title implies, many Americans, especially in or from the North, have purposely forgotten about the role of that section of the country in the slave trade. The author makes it clear that slavery was not just "a Southern thing." A good deal of the book starts and is focused on the nine slaves that George Washington brought with him to Philadelphia when he served as president. This, in fact, was the catalyst for the book. A good deal of the book's research originates with various activist groups and so there is a bit of a political taint to the proceedings. As one would expect from an activist's point of view much is made of white Americas role as slave owners, but little is said about where the slaves came from and how they came to be in the hands of white slave traders. I can only hope that the author will use his considerable research and writing skills to delve into the role of Africans in the slave trade.

Overall a fascinating read and one that any historian will find worthwhile. There is much to learn and still more to be discovered about this issue and the book provides a good jumping off point for those who wish to learn more. Given the current politics today I am pleased to see that this issue is receiving attention and showing that slavery was not just a Southern thing, and that more is expected in the way of recognition of the role of slavery in the United States. However, the juxtaposition of the demands of the activists in this book for more monuments and memorials to their past, while at the same time demanding that the monuments and memorials of other Americans be torn down, is not lost on this reader. Hopefully there will come a time when the history of ALL Americans will be respected.

I recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about American history.