Georgia Riot of 1868


Camilla, Georgia became the site of a racially motivated political riot on Saturday, September 19, 1868. Determined to promote political and social reform with an organized rally, 150–300 freedmen, along with Republican political candidates, marched toward the town’s courthouse square for the rally. The local sheriff and “citizens committee” in the majority-white town warned the black and white activists of the impending violence and demanded that they forfeit their guns, even though carrying weapons was customary at the time. The marchers refused to give up their guns and continued to the courthouse square, where a group of local whites, quickly deputized by the sheriff, fired upon them. This assault forced the Republicans and freedmen to retreat as locals gave chase into the swamps, killing an estimated nine to fifteen of the black rally participants while wounding forty others. “Whites proceeded through the countryside over the next two weeks, beating and warning Negroes that they would be killed if they tried to vote in the coming election.” The Camilla Massacre was the culmination of smaller acts of violence committed by white inhabitants that had plagued southwest Georgia since the end of the Civil War.

Charles Ball (Forgotten), fifty years in chains

Charles Ball Image.jpg

Charles Ball was an Black American Slave from Maryland. He is best known for his account as a fugitive slave The Life and Adventures of Charles Ball (1837). Ball lived in Calvert county, Maryland, until about age four. After his mother died in the 1780s, Charles and his other three siblings were all sold to separate purchasers.

In 1805 he was sold to a South Carolina cotton planter, estranged from his wife and children who remained in Maryland. After several escapes and recaptures, he wrote his autobiography with the help of the white lawyer Isaac Fisher. Charles Ball was eventually remarried and had children, he was sold to a Georgia trader without warning and was once again separated from his family. He eventually escaped from slavery and settled in Pennsylvania where he wrote his memoir.

Ball’s history/memoir is a fascinating realistic account of the life of slaves and slave-owners in the early 19th century, which he describes as “one long waste, barren desert, of cheerless, hopeless, lifeless slavery; to be varied only by the pangs of hunger, and the stings of the lash”.

Recalling the brutal conditions in slave life, he describes the heartache of having family members sold away—as his mother and father were, and as he was separated from his wife and children, taken south chained to a line of other slaves. In one long account, Ball relates the story of a fellow slave who had been captured in Africa, and we learn of the horrific conditions on slave ships bound for the West. On this slave’s journey, he recounts that 1/3 of the slaves on the ship died during the passage to Charleston, South Carolina. Ball also provides detailed accounts of the environments he lived in the U.S., including the wide destruction of the arable land created by the over-planting of tobacco, and descriptions of other flora and fauna of the southern states; the terrible diet of slave life, with each given only a peck of dry corn each week, supplemented at times with a dried fish or bit of meat; the toil of slave life, with work from dawn to dusk much of the year, and with many slaves working with absolutely no clothes on their backs; of the differences between the lives of slaves and slave owners in the northern states of Maryland and Delaware, through the uplands and tidewater districts of Virginia, and into the deep south and the Carolinas, which he regarded with “the greatest dread;” suicide among slaves, which he claims was more common than is generally known–“What is life worth, amidst hunger, nakedness, and excessive toil,” Ball writes, “under the continuously uplifted lash?”, and how some slave owners and their family members were in fact kind and accommodating with slaves, while others—in fact, mostly slave overseers, one who Ball describes as “a tiger in human form”, were brutal and cruel, wielding whips and other weapons. Ball also holds forth about the development of the cotton gin and how that invention affected slavery.


Ball also served the United States in the War of 1812. By 1813, he had enlisted in Joshua Barney’s (6 July 1759 – 1 December 1818) Chesapeake Bay Flotilla and fought at the Battle Of Bladensburg on August 24, 1814.

An excerpt from his account of the battle, which was a resounding defeat for the Americans:

“I stood at my gun, until the Commodore was shot down, when he ordered us to retreat, as I was told by the officer who commanded our gun. If the militia regiments, that lay upon our right and left, could have been brought to charge the British, in close fight, as they crossed the bridge, we should have killed or taken the whole of them in a short time; but the militia ran like sheep chased by dogs.”

Charles Ball’s time of death unknown.



Industrial Slave

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An Industrial Slave is a type of slave who typically worked in an industrial setting. These slaves often had work that was more dangerous than agricultural slaves.

In the antebellum southern United States, industrial slaves were often the property of a company instead of an individual. These companies spanned various industries including sawmills, cotton gins and mills, fishing, steamboats, sugar refineries, coal and gold mining, and railroad.

Industrial slaves were exposed to many dangerous jobs in factories. Most of the machinery and tools were very new and the simplest mistake could mean the loss of a hand, foot, or even death. Industrial slaves worked twelve hours per day, six days per week. The only breaks they received were for a short lunch during the day, and Sunday or the occasional holiday during the week. Not many of the slaves had to endure working every day the whole year around.


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Scientific Racism


What is Scientific Racism? Scientific Racism is the use of ostensibly scientific or pseudo-scientific techniques and hypotheses to support or justify the belief in racism, racial inferiority, racialism, racial superiority, or alternatively the practice of classifying individuals of different phenotypes into discrete races.

Scientific racism was common during the New Imperialism period (c. 1880s-1914) where it was used in justifying White European imperialism.


An early scientist who studied race was Robert Boyle (January 25, 1627 – December 21, 1691) was an Anglo-Irish, natural philosopher, chemist, and physicist. Boyle believed in what today is called ‘monogenism’, the theory that all humans begins, no matter the race or how diverse, are descended from a single pair of ancestors. Adam and Eve. Boyle reported stories of parents’ giving birth to different colored child, what we call today ‘albinos’, he concluded that Adam and Eve were originally white and Caucasians could give birth to different colored races. Boyle writings also mention that at his time, for “European Eyes”, beauty was not measured so much in color, but in “stature, comely symmetry of the parts of the body, and good features in the face.” Various members of the scientific community rejected his views and described them as “disturbing” and “amusing”.


Voltaire born François-Marie Arouet (November 21, 1694 – May 30, 1778) was a French Enlightenment writer, historian, and philosopher. He was also a polygene, one who believed that each race had separate origins. Voltaire found biblical monogenism laughable, as he expressed: “It is a serious question among them whether the Africans are descended from monkeys or whether the monkey’s came from them. Our wise men have said that man was created in the image of GOD. Now her is a lovely image of Divine Maker: a flat and black nose with little or hardly any intelligence. A time will doubtless come when these animals will know how to cultivate the land well, beautify their homes and gardens, and know the paths of the stars: one needs time for everything.” When comparing Caucasians to Negros, Voltaire compared them to different breeds of dog: “The Negro race is a species of men different from ours as the breed of spaniels is from that of greyhounds. The mucous membrane, or network, which Nature has spread between the muscles and the skin, is white in us and black or copper-colored in them.”


Henry Home, Lord Kames (1696 – December 27, 1784) was a Scottish advocate, judge, philosopher, writer, and agricultural improver. Lord Kames believed GOD had created different races on Earth in separated regions. In his 1734 book Sketches on the History of Man, he claimed that the environment, climate, or state of society could not account for racial differences, so the races must have come from distinct, separate stocks.


Carl Von Linnaeus (May 23,1707 – January 10, 1778) was a Swedish botanist (plant scientist), physician, and zoologist (animal biology). Linnaeus was a pioneer researcher in biologically defining human race. He labeled five categories of the human species. Each one was described as possessing the following characteristics “Varying by Culture and Place”.

  • The Americanus (American): red, choleric, righteous; black, straight, thick hair; stubborn, Zealous, free; painting himself in red lines, and regulated by customs.
  • The Europeanus (European): white, sanguine, browny; with abundant, long hair; blue eyes; gentle, acute, inventive; covered with close vestments; and regulated by customs.
  • The Asiaticus (Asian): yellow, melancholic, stiff; black hair, dark eyes; severe, haughty, greedy; covered with loose clothing; and regulated by opinions.
  • The Afer or Africanus (African): black, phlegmatic, relaxed; black, frizzled hair; silky skin, flat nose, tumid lips, females without shame; mammary glands give milk abundantly; crafty, sly, careless; anoints himself with grease; and regulated by will.9_irishmen_04

John Mitchell (April 13, 1711 – February 29,1768) was a colonial American physician, geographer, and botanist (plant scientist). Mitchell took up a study of climate and race and wrote a book in 1744 called An Essay upon the Causes of the Different Colours of People in Different Climates. In his book he made claims that the first race on Earth had been brown and reddish color. He said “that an intermediate tawny colour found amongst Asiatics and Native Amerindians” had been the “original complexion of mankind” and that other races came about by the original race spending generations in different climates.


Immanuel Kant (April 22,1724 – February 12, 1804) was a German philosopher, who was considered the central figure of modern philosophy. In 1775, Kant published On the Different Races of Man (Über die verschiedenen Rassen der Menschen), which proposed natural or purposive causes of variation, as opposed to mechanical law or a product of chance. He distinguished four fundamental races: Whites, Blacks, Kalmuck, and Hindustanic, and attributed the variation to differences in environment and climate, such as the air and sun, but clarified by saying that the variation served a purpose and was not purely superficial. Kant argued that human beings were equipped with the same seeds (Keime) and the natural predispositions or characteristics (Anlagen) that when expressed were dependent upon climate and served a purpose due to the circumstance. After this process had occurred, it was also irreversible. Therefore, race could not be undone by changes in climate. “Whichever germ was actualized by the conditions, the other germs would retire into inactivity.” Kant stated: “The yellow Indians do have a meagre talent. The Negroes are far below them, and at the lowest point are a part of the American people.”


John Hunter (February 13, 1728 – October 16, 1793) was a Scottish surgeon, one of the most distinguished scientists and surgeons of his day. Hunter said that originally the Negroid race was white at birth. He thought that over time because of the sun, the people turned dark skinned, or “black”. Hunter also said that blisters and burns would likely turn white on a Negro, which he believed was evidence that their ancestors were originally White.


Charles White (October 4, 1728 – February 20, 1813) was an English physician and the co-founder of the Manchester Royal Infirmary (cottage hospital). White believed that races occupied different stations in the “Great Chain of Being”, and he tried to scientifically prove that human races have distinct origins from each other. He believed that Whites and Negroes were two different species. White was a believer in polygenism, the idea that different races had been created separately. His Account of the Regular Gradation in Man (1799) provided an empirical basis for this idea. White pointed to species hybrids such as foxes, wolves, and jackals, which were separate groups that were still able to interbreed. For White, each race was a separate species, divinely created for its own geographical region.


Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon (September 7, 1707 – April 16, 1788) was a French naturalist, mathematician, cosmologist, and encyclopedia author. Johann Friedrich Blumenbach (May 11, 1752 – January 22, 1840) was a German physician, naturalist, physiologist, and anthropologist. He was one of the first to explore the study of mankind as an aspect of natural history. Both Buffon and Blumenbach were believers in monogenism, the concept that all races have a single origin. They also believe in the “degeneration theory” of racial origins. They both said the Adam and Eve were Caucasian and that other races came about by degeneration from environmental factors, such as the sun and poor dieting. They believed that the degeneration could be reversed if proper environmental control was take, and that all contemporary forms of man could revert to the original Caucasian race. They thought Negroid pigmentation arose because of the heat of the tropical sun. They suggested cold wind caused the tawny colour of the Eskimo. They thought the Chinese relatively fair skinned compared to the other Asian stocks because they kept mostly in towns and were protected from environmental factors. Buffon said that food and the mode of living could make races degenerate and differentiate them from the original Caucasian race. According to Blumenbach, there are five races, all belonging to a single species: Caucasian, Mongolian, Ethiopian, American, and Malay. Blumenbach said: “I have allotted the first place to the Caucasian because this stock displays the most beautiful race of men.” Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon believed humanity was only 6000 years old (the time since Adam). Many scientific racialists pointed out at the time that it would have been difficult for races to change so markedly in genotype and phenotype in such a short period of time. Believing in monogenism, Buffon thought that skin colour could change in a single lifetime, depending on the conditions of climate and diet.


Benjamin Rush (December 24, 1745 – April 19, 1813) was a Founding Father of the United States, also was a civic leader in Philadelphia, where he was a physician, politician, social reformer, educator, and humanitarian, as well as the founder of Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Rush purposed that being black was a hereditary skin disease, which he called “negroidism,” and that it could be cured. He believed non-whites were really white underneath but they were stricken with a non-contagious form of leprosy which darkened their skin color. Rush drew the conclusion that “Whites should not tyrannize over [blacks], for their disease should entitle them to a double portion of humanity. However, by the same token, whites should not intermarry with them, for this would tend to infect posterity with the ‘disorder’… attempts must be made to cure the disease.”


Christoph Meiners (July 31, 1747 – May 1, 1810) was a German philosopher and historian. Meiners believed that each race had a separate origin. Meiners studied the physical, mental and moral characteristics of each race, and built a race hierarchy based on his findings. Meiners split mankind into two divisions, which he labelled the “beautiful White race” and the “ugly Black race”. In Meiners’s book The Outline of History of Mankind, he said that a main characteristic of race is either beauty or ugliness. He thought only the White race to be beautiful. He considered ugly races to be inferior, immoral and animal-like. He said that the dark, ugly peoples were distinct from the white, beautiful peoples by their “sad” lack of virtue and their “terrible vices”. According to Meiners,

The more intelligent and noble people are by nature, the more adaptable, sensitive, delicate, and soft is their body; on the other hand, the less they possess the capacity and disposition towards virtue, the more they lack adaptability; and not only that, but the less sensitive are their bodies, the more can they tolerate extreme pain or the rapid alteration of heat and cold; when they are exposed to illnesses, the more rapid their recovery from wounds that would be fatal for more sensitive peoples, and the more they can partake of the worst and most indigestible foods … without noticeable ill effects. Meiners said the Negro felt less pain than any other race and lacked in emotions. Meiners wrote that the Negro had thick nerves and thus was not sensitive like the other races. He went as far as to say that the Negro has “no human, barely any animal, feeling”. He described a story where a Negro was condemned to death by being burned alive. Halfway through the burning, the Negro asked to smoke a pipe and smoked it like nothing was happening while he continued to be burned alive. Meiners studied the anatomy of the Negro and came to the conclusion that the Negro have bigger teeth and jaws than any other race, as Negroes are all carnivores. Meiners claimed the skull of the Negro was larger but the brain of the Negro was smaller than any other race. Meiners claimed the Negro was the most unhealthy race on Earth because of its poor diet, mode of living and lack of morals. Meiners also claimed the “Americans” were an inferior stock of people. He said they could not adapt to different climates, types of food, or modes of life, and that when exposed to such new conditions, they lapse into a “deadly melancholy”. Meiners studied the diet of the Americans and said they fed off any kind of “foul offal”. He thought they consumed very much alcohol. He believed their skulls were so thick that the blades of Spanish swords shattered on them. Meiners also claimed the skin of an American is thicker than that of an ox. Meiners wrote that the noblest race was the Celts. They were able to conquer various parts of the world, they were more sensitive to heat and cold, and their delicacy is shown by the way they are selective about what they eat. Meiners claimed that Slavs are an inferior race, “less sensitive and content with eating rough food”. He described stories of Slavs allegedly eating poisonous fungi without coming to any harm. He claimed that their medical techniques were also backward: he used as an example their heating sick people in ovens, then making them roll in the snow. In Meiners’s large work entitled Researches on the Variations in Human Nature (1815), he studied also the sexology of each race. He claimed that the African Negroids have unduly strong and perverted sex drives, whilst only the White Europeans have it just right.


Samuel Stanhope Smith (March 15, 1751 – August 21, 1819) was a Presbyterian minister, founding president of Hampden-Sydney College and the seventh president of the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) from 1795 to 1812. Smith written a book called Essay on the Causes of Variety of Complexion and Figure in the Human Species in 1787. Smith claimed that Negro pigmentation was nothing more than a huge freckle that covered the whole body as a result of an oversupply of bile, which was caused by tropical climates.


Jean Léopold Nicolas Frédéric Cuvier (August 23, 1769 – May 13, 1832), known as Georges Cuvier, was a French naturalist and zoologist, sometimes referred to as the “Father of paleontology”. Cuvier was a major figure in natural sciences research in the early 19th century and was instrumental in establishing the fields of comparative anatomy and paleontology through his work in comparing living animals with fossils. Cuvier believed there were three distinct races: the Caucasian (white), Mongolian (yellow) and the Ethiopian (black). He rated each for the beauty or ugliness of the skull and quality of their civilizations. Cuvier wrote about Caucasians: “The white race, with oval face, straight hair and nose, to which the civilized people of Europe belong and which appear to us the most beautiful of all, is also superior to others by its genius, courage and activity.” Regarding Negros, Cuvier wrote: “The Negro race … is marked by black complexion, crisped or woolly hair, compressed cranium and a flat nose. The projection of the lower parts of the face, and the thick lips, evidently approximate it to the monkey tribe: the hordes of which it consists have always remained in the most complete state of barbarism.” He thought Adam and Eve were Caucasian and hence the original race of mankind. The other two races arose by survivors’ escaping in different directions after a major catastrophe hit the earth 5,000 years ago. He theorized that the survivors lived in complete isolation from each other and developed separately. One of Cuvier’s pupils, Friedrich Tiedemann, was one of the first to make a scientific contestation of racism. He argued based on craniometrics and brain measurements taken by him from Europeans and black people from different parts of the world that the then-common European belief that Negroes have smaller brains, and are thus intellectually inferior, is scientifically unfounded and based merely on the prejudice of travelers and explorers.


Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel ( August 27, 1770 – November 14, 1831) was a German philosopher of the late Enlightenment. Hegel declared that “Africa is no historical part of the world.” Hegel further claimed that blacks had no “sense of personality; their spirit sleeps, remains sunk in itself, makes no advance, and thus parallels the compact, undifferentiated mass of the African continent.”


Arthur Schopenhauer (February 22, 1788 – September 21, 1860) was a German philosopher. Schopenhauer attributed civilizational primacy to the white races, who gained sensitivity and intelligence via the refinement caused by living in the rigorous Northern climate: The highest civilization and culture, apart from the ancient Hindus and Egyptians, are found exclusively among the white races; and even with many dark peoples, the ruling caste, or race, is fairer in colour than the rest, and has, therefore, evidently immigrated, for example, the Brahmins, the Inca, and the rulers of the South Sea Island. All this is due to the fact that necessity is the mother of invention, because those tribes that emigrated early to the north, and there gradually became white, had to develop all their intellectual powers, and invent and perfect all the arts in their struggle with need, want, and misery, which, in their many forms, were brought about by the climate. This they had to do in order to make up for the parsimony of nature, and out of it all came their high civilization.

Franz Ignaz Pruner (March 8, 1808 – September 29, 1882); known as Pruner Bey during his stay in Egypt, was a German physician, ophthalmologist and anthropologist. Pruner was a medical doctor who studied the racial structure of Negroes in Egypt. In a book which he wrote in 1846 he claimed that Negro blood had a negative influence on the Egyptian moral character. He published a monograph on Negroes in 1861. He claimed that the main feature of the Negro’s skeleton is Prognathism, which he claimed was the Negro’s relation to the ape. He also claimed that Negroes had very similar brains to apes and that Negros have a shortened big toe, which is a characteristic connecting Negroes closely to apes. (No paintings are found of Pruner).


Karl Christoph Vogt originally Carl (July 5, 1817 – May 5, 1895) was a German scientist, philosopher and politician who emigrated to Switzerland. Vogt believed that the Negro race was related to the ape. He wrote the White race was a separate species to Negroes. In Chapter VII of his lectures of man (1864) he compared the Negro to the White race whom he described as “two extreme human types”. The difference between them, he claimed are greater than those between two species of ape; and this proves that Negroes are a separate species from the Whites.


Samuel Adolphus Cartwright (November 3, 1793 – May 2, 1863) was a physician who practiced in Mississippi and Louisiana in the antebellum United States. considered slave escape attempts as “drapetomania”, a treatable mental illness, that “with proper medical advice, strictly followed, this troublesome practice that many Negroes have of running away can be almost entirely prevented”. He also claimed that Northern, free blacks suffered mental illness at higher rates than did their Southern, enslaved counterparts. Cartwright also described dysaesthesia aethiopica, called “rascality” by overseers.



Samuel George Morton (January 26, 1799 – May 15, 1851) was an American physician and natural scientist. Morton collected human skulls from worldwide, and attempted a logical, classification scheme. Influenced by contemporary racialist theory, Dr. Morton said he could judge racial intellectual capacity by measuring the interior cranial capacity, hence a large skull denoted a large brain, thus high intellectual capacity, conversely, a small skull denoted a small brain, thus low intellectual capacity; superior and inferior established. After inspecting three mummies from ancient Egyptian catacombs, Morton concluded that Caucasians and Negroes were already distinct three thousand years ago. Since the bible indicated that Noah’s Ark had washed up on Mount Ararat, only a thousand years ago before this, Morton claimed that Noah’s sons could not possibly account for every race on earth. According to Morton’s theory of polygenesis, races have been separate since the start.

Others who were was involved in scientific racism are:


  • Charles Robert Darwin (February 12, 1809 – April 19, 1882) was an English naturalist and geologist, best known for his contributions to evolutionary theory.
  • 800px-Ernst_Haeckel_5
  • Ernst Heinrich Philipp August Haeckel (February 16,1834 – August 9, 1919) was a German biologist, naturalist, philosopher, physician, professor, and artist who discovered, described and named thousands of new species, mapped a genealogical tree relating all life forms, and coined many terms in biology, including anthropogenic, ecology, Phylum, Phylogeny, stem Cell, and Protista.
  • H_H_Risley
  • Sir Herbert Hope Risley (January 4, 1851 – September 30, 1911) was a British ethnographer and colonial administrator, a member of the Indian Civil Service who conducted extensive studies on the tribes and castes of the Bengal Presidency.
  • Petrus-Camper-(professor)
  • Peter, Pieter, or usually Petrus Camper (May 11,1722 – April 7, 1789), was a Dutch physician, anatomist, physiologist, midwife, zoologist, anthropologist, paleontologist, and a naturalist.

There are many more who was involved in this scientific racism, but I decided to list only the most important people that was involved. Scientific racism is still happening today just under a new profession called statics or an statistician. Which in all static reports I have read said that whites are worth more, they are living better, and have more education then any other race. which are false reports. Could it be because there are only white statistician? This could be it, thanks for reading.










‘Dysaesthesia Aethiopica’ Scientific Racism


Dysaesthesia Aethiopica was an alleged mental illness described by American physician Samuel Adolphus Cartwright in 1851, which proposed a theory for the cause of laziness among black slaves. Today, dysaesthesia aethiopica is considered an example of pseudoscience, and part of the edifice of Scientific Racism.

Found exclusively among black slaves, dysaesthesia aethiopica “called by overseers ‘rascality'” was characterized by partial insensitivity of the skin and “as to be like a person half asleep.” Other symptoms included “lesions of the body discoverable to the medical observer, which are always present and sufficient to account for the symptoms.” Cartwright noted that the existence of dysaesthesia aethiopica was “clearly established by the most direct and positive testimony,” but other doctors had failed to notice it because their “attention had not been sufficiently directed to the maladies of the negro race.”

According to Cartwright, dysaesthesia aethiopica was “much more prevalent among free Negros living in clusters by themselves, than among slaves on our plantations, and attacks only such slaves as live like free negroes in regard to diet, drinks, exercise, etc.” – indeed, according to Cartwright, “nearly all [free negroes] are more or less afflicted with it, that have not got some white person to direct and to take care of them.” He explicitly dismissed the opinion which assigned the causes of the “problematic” behavior to the social situation of the slaves without further justifications: “[The northern physicians] ignorantly attribute the symptoms to the debasing influence of slavery on the mind.”

Cartwright felt that dysaesthesia aethiopica was “easily curable, if treated on sound physiological principles.” Insensitivity of the skin was one symptom of the disease, so the skin should be stimulated:

“The best means to stimulate the skin is, first, to have the patient well washed with warm water and soap; then, to anoint it all over in oil, and to slap the oil in with a broad leather strap; then to put the patient to some hard kind of work in the sunshine.”

According to Cartwright, after the prescribed “course of treatment” the slave will “look grateful and thankful to the white man whose compulsory power … has restored his sensation and dispelled the mist that clouded his intellect.”


“Diseases and Peculiarities of the Negro Race”

“Diseases and Peculiarities of the Negro Race,” by Dr. Cartwright


Dysaesthesia Aethiopica is a disease peculiar to negroes, affecting both mind and body in a manner as well expressed by dysaesthesia, the name I have given it, as could be by a single term. There is both mind and sensibility, but both seem to be difficult to reach by impressions from without. There is a partial insensibility of the skin, and so great a hebetude of the intellectual faculties, as to be like a person half asleep, that is with difficulty aroused and kept awake. It differs from every other species of mental disease, as it is accompanied with physical signs or lesions of the body discoverable to the medical observer, which are always present and sufficient to account for the symptoms. It is much more prevalent among free negroes living in clusters by themselves, than among slaves on our plantations, and attacks only such slaves as live like free negroes in regard to diet, drinks, exercise, etc. It is not my purpose to treat of the complaint as it prevails among free negroes, nearly all of whom are more or less afflicted with it, that have not got some white person to direct and to take care of them. To narrate its symptoms and effects among them would be to write a history of the ruins and dilapidation of Hayti, and every spot of earth they have ever had uncontrolled possession over for any length of time. I propose only to describe its symptoms among slaves.

From the careless movements of the individuals affected with the complaint, they are apt to do much mischief, which appears as if intentional, but is mostly owing to the stupidness of mind and insensibility of the nerves induced by the disease. Thus, they break, waste and destroy everything they handle,–abuse horses and cattle,–tear, burn or rend their own clothing, and, paying no attention to the rights of property, steal others, to replace what they have destroyed. They wander about at night, and keep in a half nodding sleep during the day. They slight their work,–cut up corn, cane, cotton or tobacco when hoeing it, as if for pure mischief. They raise disturbances with their overseers and fellow-servants without cause or motive, and seem to be insensible to pain when subjected to punishment. The fact of the existence of such a complaint, making man like an automaton or senseless machine, having the above or similar symptoms, can be clearly established by the most direct and positive testimony. That it should have escaped the attention of the medical profession, can only be accounted for because its attention has not been sufficiently directed to the maladies of the negro race. Otherwise a complaint of so common an occurrence on badly-governed plantations, and so universal among free negroes, or those who are not governed at all,–a disease radicated in physical lesions and having its peculiar and well marked symptoms and its curative indications, would not have escaped the notice of the profession. The northern physicians and people have noticed the symptoms, but not the disease from which they spring. They ignorantly attribute the symptoms to the debasing influence of slavery on the mind without considering that those who have never been in slavery, or their fathers before them, are the most afflicted, and the latest from the slave-holding South the least. The disease is the natural offspring of negro liberty–the liberty to be idle, to wallow in filth, and to indulge in improper food and drinks.









‘Drapetomania’ Scientific Racism


In May of 1851, a American physician from Louisiana Samuel Adolphus Cartwright observed black slaves that fled captivity, and saw it as a illness. “Drapetomania, or the disease causing Negros to flee” was the title to his paper explaining that blacks slaves didn’t want freedom, if they escape they were ill. Cartwright claimed the cause was that masters treated some slaves as something close to human beings, and slaves who considered themselves to be individuals of worth. He claimed that black slaves who fled captivity suffered from drapetomania. In his words:

“Drapetomania is from draptise. A runaway slave is mania mad or crazy. It is unknown to our medical authorities, although its diagnostic symptoms be absconding from service, is well known to our planters and overseers. In noticing a disease that, therefore, is hitherto classed among the long list of maladies that man is subject to, it was necessary to have a new term to express it. The cause in most cases that induces the Negro to run away from service is as much a disease of the mind as any other species of mental alienation, and much more curable as a general rule. With the advantages of proper medical advice strictly followed, this troublesome practice that many Negroes have of running away can be almost entirely prevented, although the slaves are located on the borders of a free state within a stone’s throw of abolitionists.”


In Diseases and Peculiarities of the Negro Race, Cartwright claimed Instead of treating black slaves as people, he assumed that the place of a slave, was to remain a slave. He used the bible as evidence, taking sections talking about the faithfulness of a servant and his master to justify his assertions that slaves should be treated as little more than children. Children to be whipped. He even believed that lazy slaves weren’t upset, they too were ill.

“If the white man attempts to oppose the Deity’s will, by trying to make the negro anything else than “the submissive knee-bender” (which the Almighty declared he should be), by trying to raise him to a level with himself, or by putting himself on an equality with the negro; or if he abuses the power which God has given him over his fellow-man, by being cruel to him, or punishing him in anger, or by neglecting to protect him from the wanton abuses of his fellow-servants and all others, or by denying him the usual comforts and necessaries of life, the negro will run away; but if he keeps him in the position that we learn from the Scriptures he was intended to occupy, that is, the position of submission; and if his master or overseer be kind and gracious in his hearing towards him, without condescension, and at the same time ministers to his physical wants, and protects him from abuses, the negro is spell-bound, and cannot run away.”

Cartwright claimed freedom was an illness. In addition to identifying drapetomania, he prescribed a remedy. His feeling was that with “proper medical advice, strictly followed, this troublesome practice that many Negros have of running away can be almost entirely prevented.”

If a slave becomes “dissatisfies without reason,” then they may have drapetomania and may about to flee bondage. Cartwright recommended “whipping the devil out of them” until they became submissive again, the state to which they belonged. An alternative remedy was to make running away impossible by having the big toe from both feet severed. Curing the disease.

Cartwright described the disorder which, he said, was “unknown to our medical authorities, although its diagnostic symptom, the absconding from service, is well known to our planters and overseers.” In a paper delivered before the Medical Association of Louisiana that was widely reprinted. He stated that the malady was a consequence of masters who “made themselves too familiar with slaves, treating them as equals.”


“treated kindly, well fed and clothed, with fuel enough to keep a small fire burning all night–separated into families, each family having its own house–not permitted to run about at night to visit their neighbors, to receive visits or use intoxicating liquors, and not overworked or exposed too much to the weather, they are very easily governed–more so than any other people in the world. If any one or more of them, at any time, are inclined to raise their heads to a level with their master or overseer, humanity and their own good requires that they should be punished until they fall into that submissive state which was intended for them to occupy. They have only to be kept in that state, and treated like children to prevent and cure them from running away.”

While Cartwright’s article was reprinted in the South, in the Northern United States it was widely mocked. Renowned landscape architect Fredrick Law Olmsted, published a paper in A Journey in the Seaboard Slave States, In 1856, pointing to evidence that white indentured servants had escaped from captivity, suggesting that drapetomania was a white European disease that traders had introduced to Africa by traders.

Cartwright was not the first to use science to push a racist agenda, and unfortunately he was not the last. In my next blog I would discuss “Scientific Racism” and the people behind it.



Thomas Day (Black American Cabinet Maker)


Thomas Day was born to free black parents in Dinwiddie County, Virginia around 1801. His father was John Day Sr., a farmer and skilled cabinet worker and his mother was Mounring Stewart, the daughter of free mulatto Thomas Stewarts, who owned a large and successful plantation I Dinwiddie County, Virginia. John day married Mounring Stewart around 1795-1796, and they two had sons: John Day Jr. born 1797; and Thomas Day.

Day’s early years was spent following his father’s footsteps in the cabinetry craft and from an early age he displayed proficiency in woodwork. In 1823, Day had followed his older brother to Milton, North Carolina. The brothers worked together in the furniture business and immediately were successful. By 1825 John Day Jr. left the Milton and the furniture business, leaving the cabinetry business solely to Thomas. John Day Jr. would later emigrate to Liberia, and become one the founding fathers of the Republic of Liberia. He served as Chief Justice, and was one of the first people to sign the Liberian Declaration of Independence.


In 1827, Day appeared for the first time on the tax list in North Carolina as a property owner. And, over the years he increased his property holding. On January 6, 1830 Thomas Day married Aquilla Wilson in Halifax County, Virginia. Aquilla Wilson was born in Halifax, Virginia in 1806. The couple had three (possibly four) children: Mary Ann, born 1831; Devereaux, born 1833; Thomas Jr., born 1837; and possibly a daughter, Aquilla, born 1835 named after her mother. Thomas Day and Aquilla had difficulty in becoming married, for example: Day was confronted for marrying a free black woman from Virginia (a restrictive law, forbidden by North Carolina). Day responded by suggesting that he would move himself and his shop to Virginia. Prominent white citizens, including states attorney general, had the North Carolina Legislature pas a special bill exempting Mr. and Mrs. Day from the law’s provision’s.

Within a decade Day had established himself as one of the South’s most famous and celebrated furniture craftsmen. Day’s furniture-making business employed the use of both black slaves and white apprentices, despite the general belief that Day (as a free man) was of lower social stature than his white apprentices. His work was widely recognized and he became sought after by plantation owners, whose homes he embellished with stylish mantle pieces and stair railings, in addition to provide them with furniture. He would craft pieces for two of North Carolina’s governors and was awarded a commission to furnish the interior woodwork of one of the original buildings of the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.


Day and his family was members of the Milton Presbyterian Church, but was not allowed to sit on the main floor, which was for the white members only. Thomas Day traded building pews for the church in return for his family to be able to sit in the main portion of the sanctuary. In 1841, Mr. and Mrs. Day were accepted as full members of the church.

Day owned his place of business and residence, add a brick addition to contain his workshop. Today this is the historic Union Tavern or Yellow Tavern in Milton. He became a major stockholder in the State Bank of North Carolina. He also owned significant real estate beyond Milton. He carried furniture for the wealthy, but he did not just make furniture. He created mantles, stairs, windows, door frames, newel post, and other decorative and functional trim. His operative became one of the largest furniture/cabinetmaking business in North Carolina, at one time he was able to employ twelve laborers.

Thomas Day Rocker and Foot Rest.JPG

In the late 1850s, Day’s business suffered financial setbacks. A national panic in 1857 caused widespread financial difficulties from which Day did not escape. Moreover, he was faced with increasing restrictions on what he was allowed to do as a free black. By the end of the decade, Day’s business was in receivership, and the court named his friend and business partner Dabney Terry as trustee for the property, which included his house and shop, tools, steam engines, rental properties, wagons, furniture inventory, teams, harnesses, and six slaves. The court gave him until December 1859 to settle is accounts. Thomas Day, Jr., executed a note for his father’s debts, and the property was returned to him, but still under the eye of a court-appointed trustee. Thomas, Jr., continued the business through the Civil War and well into Reconstruction, selling out in 1871 and leaving Milton.

Given the time in which Day lived, what he accomplice was remarkable, however, he was a remarkable man. In 1861, Thomas Day disappeared from the Milton public records, and it is possible that he died that year. This death year

is supported by Milton locals. He is buried near Milton on private property that he once owned. For many years only a pile of stones marked his grave. However, a suitable monument now memorializes the site.










Samuel D. Burris ( The forgotten one)


Samuel D. Burris (1809 – December 3, 1863), was an Black American member and Conductor of the Underground Railroad.

Burris was born in Willow Grove, Delaware in 1813.

Samuel was a free black man in a time when slavery was at its peak. Burris decided to move himself and his family to the safe city of Philadelphia, but from there he made trips back and forth to the South to free other Black Americans from slavery. Burris and his partner John Hunn (June 25, 1818 – July 6, 1894), started working with the Underground Railroad system in 1845. They worked closely together helping free slaves that were escaping from Delaware and Maryland.

Burris was well aware of what he was doing and the consequences that would apply to him if he were ever caught. In the state of Delaware helping slaves escape was as a very serious offense, and if caught the mandatory punishment was that one would be sold into slavery for a period of seven years. In June 1847 Burris was caught.

He was apprehended while helping a woman by the name of Marie Mathews escape from Dover Hundred. Immediately after being captured Burris was put in Dover jail for fourteen months while he awaited his trial. He was then convicted and automatically sentenced to be auctioned off into slavery. When Burris’ friends who were active abolitionists found he was about to be sold they acted to free him.

The auction was described as follows:

When the hour arrived, the doomed man was placed on the auction-block. Two traders from Baltimore were known to be present; how many others the friends of Burris knew not. The usual opportunity was given to traders and speculators to thoroughly examine the property on the block, and most skillfully was Burris examined from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head; legs, arms and body, being handled as horse-jockeys treat horses. Flint watched the ways of the traders and followed for effect their example. The auctioneer began and soon had a bid of five hundred dollars. A Baltimore trader was now in the lead, when Flint, if we mistake not, bought off the trader for one hundred dollars. The bids were suddenly checked, and Burris was knocked down to Isaac S. Flint. But a few moments were allowed to pass ere Flint had the bill of sale for his property, and the joyful news was whispered in the ear of Burris that all was right; that he had been bought with abolition gold to save him from going south. Once more Burris found himself in Philadelphia with his wife and children and friends, a stronger opponent than ever of Slavery. Having thus escaped by the skin of his teeth, he never again ventured South.

Unknown to Burris at the time, the Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society collected enough money to purchase his freedom. A member of the Society, Isaac A. Flint, attended the state auction in which Burris was to be sold.  Flint posed as a slave trader and was so convincing in this role that he fooled state officials and even fooled Burris as he thoroughly examined Burris’s body and then actively bid on him. Flint managed to “win” Burris and the two promptly returned to Philadelphia.

Burris remained in Philadelphia until 1852, when he moved his family to California. Although he had stopped participating directly in the Underground Railroad after narrowly escaping from his own possible enslavement, Burris continued to support the abolition cause in his new home state. He also remained in contact with members of the Anti-Slavery Society throughout the rest of his life.

Samuel D. Burris died in San Francisco California on December 3, 1863 at the age 54.