Thursday, August 2, 2012

Still Liberating Slavery Collectibles from Ebay: Did Sasha and Malia Obama's Ancestors Wear "Slave Tags" Like This One?



 ...Rare 1860 Charleston Mechanic # 502 Slave Tag/Hire Badge....Dug Near Charleston South Carolina.... COA and Provenance will be included. 
This is highest numbered Mechanic tag known of all Mechanic tags. 
All lettering and numbers are very bold on this tag. It is as dug and rinsed only.
Sweet deep patina,pleasing to look at, It came out of real good soil. 
This is the last year for tags to be issued before the beginning of the Civil War in 1861. 
This slave tag is guaranteed authentic forever and will ship in a nice display case with complete provenance and a signed letter of authenticity. 
There is no middle-man ,I am the digger. Required Insurance and delivery confirmation is included with free shipping. Never buy a Slave Tag on eBay or anywhere else without asking questions,unless you know and trust the seller. 
You are dealing with honest sellers and the actual diggers of our relics. 
All were found in South Carolina on private lands with permission. 
Thank you...Kathy and Bill...
**** 


While I get annoyed at NPR's annoying, repetitive fundraising efforts I have learned that this money collecting business requires lots of persistence, gentle prodding, and monitoring. 

[For example, I did not know that Paypal had "locked" our donation account without my knowledge because I did not provide proof that the monies were going to a charitable cause. My answer to them: We don't know what the cause is yet. Apparently, they found that confusing. 

Surprisingly, as I explained that we were trying to buy slavery artifacts online, the customer service rep became quite interested and fascinated in the venture. 

In short, kind folks had been trying to donate but were unable to do so. I have resolved that technical glitch]

A few months back I began collecting donations in order to purchase some slavery artifacts off of Ebay. The idea that these sacred objects were available as mere collectibles to buy online as kitsch or a "conversation starter" sickened me.

To that end I put up our handy counter on the sidebar. We received quite a few donations in a three day period, and I would like to thank all of those who supported the effort. As I noted in my original post, I will do my best to get any objects authenticated, will share a receipt of sale so that you know the money was used as promise, and will find a proper home in a museum or public collection for whatever we buy together.

I extended the timeline for the donations until the end of August. I am going to cut that down a few weeks so that we can get this wrapped up. If we do not get enough money to make a reasonable bid on an artifact, I will donate the money to a no-kill animal shelter or refuge.

If we get enough interest, one of my colleagues is going to help me put together a proposal to use Kickstarter, as well as to see if we can get some foundation money to make more purchases. My only concern is that we do not want to create an inflated market for these items. Any thoughts on getting around that puzzle of supply and demand would be most welcome.

There are quite a few of these "slave tags" available for purchase online. Many folks do not know that African American bondsmen were frequently required to wear registration tags--just like dogs--if they were routinely allowed to travel off of the plantation as part of their "work."

This was especially true of slaves with artistic or technical skills who would often live apart from their owner and send him or her their earned wages. In major cities this was a common arrangement. In the popular imagination, the image of the slave on the plantation has come to be synonymous with the "peculiar" institution. However, black slaves worked as shipwrights, in mines, as blacksmiths, and in other skilled trades. 

Labor has value. Slaves who had particular mechanical skills were particularly sought after by those who profited through the blood and exploitation of chattel slavery. They were quite a bargain after all--their owner gets to keep the majority of the wages, has prestige and bragging rights because of their human property's uncommon skills, and their chattel lives away from the plantation and is thus responsible for their own upkeep and care.

Isn't capitalism grand? Your/our/mine ancestors and fellow Americans were reduced to human property, and marked as such, by slave tags like the one above. 

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Isn't capitalism grand? Your/our/mine ancestors and fellow Americans were reduced to human property, and marked as such, by slave tags like the one above. –Chauncey D.

Charleston, SC…. My pathetic hometown/birthplace, where up to this very day, most whites speak of the slave regime, the Confederacy and chattel slavery as if it took place merely two decades ago. These strange people have no shame whatsoever of the crime against humanity that their forefathers committed. They speak of the slave era with an abundance of glee. In fact, slavery in this country is the longest running crime anywhere on the planet.

I seriously doubt that Sasha and Malia’s ancestors wore slave tags. John Punch had children with a free white woman. This means that all of his mulatto off-springs were free as well. If anything, Sasha and Mali’s ancestors owned darker complexion slaves that wore these slave tags. – Black Sage

chaunceydevega said...

@BS. don't forget michelle obama's family's documented history of being owned as human property. sasha and malia have two parents. through the first lady I have little doubt their kin wore chains.

nomad said...

"through the first lady I have little doubt their kin wore chains." I forgot about that. I was just about to second Sage's comment.

Lets sing kumbaya. The descendant of slave holders united in matrimony with the descendant of slaves. Talk about a mixed marriage.

Anonymous said...

@CD, you’re correct, I was too focused on John Punch. I stand corrected!

@Nomad, genetics have a way or hibernating for a generation or two and suddenly manifest itself as a Black baby with both parents being White. Still, some people have the audacity to make a statement such as: I’m pure White or I’m pure Black. Little do they know! – Black Sage

Deb said...

Anon...I too hail from Charleston, SC. And while I agree with your characterization of it being a place, "...where up to this very day, most whites speak of the slave regime, the Confederacy and chattel slavery as if it took place merely two decades ago. These strange people have no shame whatsoever of the crime against humanity that their forefathers committed. They speak of the slave era with an abundance of glee.", I am finding (in my old age! :-D), that I'm becoming more and more able to separate the rightly described "pathetic" feelings of its white supremacist capitalist patriarchy (WSCP), from the absolutely soul-enriching, pride-building, colonized-mind free thinking of our wonderful legacy in our shared birthplace. Can I entice you to you give "US" a chance before you give up -- by reading Peter Wood's, "Black Majority," and Lorenzo Dow Turner's, "Africanisms in the Gullah Dialect?" They might give you a different insight into who we are, in relation to where we're from.

CD...I am well aware that, "black slaves worked as shipwrights, in mines, as blacksmiths, and in other skilled trades. Labor has value. Slaves who had particular mechanical skills were particularly sought after by those who profited through the blood and exploitation of chattel slavery. They were quite a bargain after all--their owner gets to keep the majority of the wages, has prestige and bragging rights because of their human property's uncommon skills, and their chattel lives away from the plantation and is thus responsible for their own upkeep and care. "

The now-deceased, Mr. Phillip Simmons, was such a man. So much so, that the WSCP in Charleston, has successfully, tried to "own" him -- yet again, as you described. However, his grandson now lives in Charleston, fighting for his "freedom," even against family members who've bought into what the WSCP has offered -- very interesting story.

There are many of us from Charleston and its surrounding areas (notably and personally, from the Sea Islands) who have in their possession, a wealth of items not available on Ebay. Hopefully I can convince more of us, like Anon (perceptively, good or bad), to cherish the history and pass it, as well as the evidence, on to the new generation of Black folk born and raised -- "from whence we came."

Deb said...

cd...Forgot to say that Michelle Obama's home of Georgetown, SC, is so signifiant to Blacks in the SouthCarolina! Georgetown's, Winyah Bay -- NOT, the 1619, Jamestown, VA "revisionist history" everybody's been taught -- has been proven to be the first place that Africans populated America as slaves of Europeans (Anon, should be no shame in that game -- just unvarnished truth, if one wants to own it).

Redspect said...

"If you haven't any charity in your heart you have the worst kind of heart trouble" to cure it help people, let's unite for one good cause, be a volunteer"save lives"! mawaddainternationalaid

Anonymous said...

@Deb, thank you for the book recommendations. I hope that my behavioral description of the majority of whites in the Charleston area wasn’t misconstrued as yours truly being ashamed of his heritage. I assure, I’m not at all! I have no hesitance at all to tell people where I’m from. If I did, I wouldn’t have mentioned it in my first post of this thread. Moreover, whenever I visit the Low Country of South Carolina and return to California, I’m always asked: “Did you visit the islands (meaning the Bahamas or some other island in the Caribbean area because of my distinct Gullah accent)? My answer is always the same, No, I didn’t visit the islands, however, I was damn close!

Furthermore, you’re correct regarding Michelle Obama having roots in Georgetown, SC area. My brother told me that she did visit the area when Barack Obama was campaigning for the presidency in 2008. Take care! – Black Sage

Deb said...

Black Sage...You're welcome. I apologize, it seems I misread what you initially said. Feels great to hear that pride! I've run into so many folk from home around the country who'd rather nobody knew where they were really from (the whole "Geechie" thing still shames many of them). I get some variation of the "islands" question all the time too! I always answer, "Yes, the Sea Islands." :-D You take care too!