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Wreckage of the Last U.S. Slave Ship Is Finally Identified in Alabama

May 23, 2019 in History

By Becky Little

It was torched and then sunk to the bottom of a river, but historians say they have now identified the remains of the last ship to carry slaves to the U.S.

After much searching, researchers have finally located the last U.S. slave ship, the Clotilda, at the bottom of the Mobile River in Alabama. The announcement comes one year after the publication of Zora Neale Hurston’s lost interview with a survivor of that ship, and just a month after a scholar discovered the last Clotilda survivor lived until 1937. It holds special significance for the residents of Africatown, Alabama, many of whom are descended from the Africans illegally trafficked on the Clotilda in 1860.

“It’s a wonderful discovery,” says Sylviane A. Diouf, a visiting scholar at Brown University’s Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice and author of Dreams of Africa in Alabama: The Slave Ship Clotilda and the Story of the Last Africans Brought to America. “This is the only one so far that has been found which came directly from Africa to the Americas with people on board.” (The recently-discovered São José was on its way to Brazil but crashed in South Africa near Cape Town.)

Life Aboard a Slave Ship (TV-PG; 4:02)

The discovery is also significant because the Clotilda is already the most well-documented slave ship story in the Americas. “If it had only been a ship without the story, then that’s interesting,” Diouf says. “But we have the entire story. So this is the first time that we have the entire story of what happened to the people who were on the ship and we have the ship as well.”

The research initiative that found the Clotilda was partly motivated by the discovery of another ship in January 2018 that some thought might have been the Clotlida. Afterward, the Alabama Historical Commission funded further efforts to find the the Clotilda, which a slave trader had burned and then sunk to the bottom of the river to hide the evidence of its illegal journey.

Excavators ended up combing through a section of the Mobile River that had never been dredged before. Among the many sunken ships there, they found one that historians could confidently say matched the description of the Clotilda.

On January 2, 2018, in Mobile County, Alabama, remains of a ship were found that were originally …read more


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Butchery's Long History: From Carving Giant Sloths to Ancient Roman Hatchets

May 23, 2019 in History

By Sarah Pruitt

From the Ice Age to ancient Rome to Medieval England, humans have refined their butchery skills over thousands of years.

For thousands of years, starting with the earliest hunter-gatherer tribes, butchers have served as highly valued members of human societies. With the domestication of livestock and the improvement of tool-making techniques, butchery developed into a skilled and respected trade that would endure over the centuries.

As late as the 1920s, local butcher shops were a fixture in most communities in the meat-loving United States. Though the noble history of butchery took a hit after many Americans began buying their meat pre-cut and pre-packaged at the grocery store, the growing interest in high-quality meat in recent years means butchers have been making a comeback.

From our primitive ancestors to the most recent revival, these are just a few important milestones in the history of butchery.

3.4 Million Years Ago: Prehistoric Ancestors Butcher With Stone Tools

A display of Australopithecus’ eating meat.

Researchers in the Afar region of Ethiopia announced in 2010 that they had uncovered the bones of two ancient animals—one cow-sized and one goat-sized—dating to nearly 3.4 million years ago and bearing cut marks indicating both flesh removal and bone marrow extraction. , as white settlers pushed Native Americans ever deeper into the frontier.

1865: Chicago’s Union Stock Yard Opens

Livestock pens and workers herding sheep at the Chicago Union Stock Yard, circa 1910.

Though the earliest meatpacking plants had been established in New England during the colonial period, by the mid-19th century Midwestern cities had come to dominate the nation’s growing meat industry. In 1865, Chicago saw the opening of the vast Union Stock Yard, which processed 3 million cattle and hogs in 1870 and 12 million in 1890. With advances in refrigeration technology in the early 1900s, Chicago meatpackers were able to efficiently ship fresh-chilled beef and pork via railroad all the way to the East Coast.

Late 20th-early 21st centuries: Butchers Make a Comeback

A butcher working in a slaughterhouse at a small organic farm.

As late as the 1920s, most Americans continued to do their shopping as previous generations had, picking up their dry goods at one store, fruits and vegetables at another, and their meat at the local butcher shop. But with the rise of chain grocery stores like the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company (better known as A&P) and their …read more


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On War With Iran, It’s Trump Versus the Founding Fathers

May 23, 2019 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

War between the United States and Iran looms, even though the
latter poses no threat to the former. President Donald Trump says
he doesn’t want war but for the Iranians to call him. Perhaps his
entire campaign is an elaborate effort to scare Tehran to the
negotiating table. Or perhaps he hopes to win political support by
fomenting a foreign crisis. How ironic that would be: in 2011,
Trump warned via tweet that “Barack Obama will attack Iran in the
not too distant future because it will help him win the

However, the president already ran against the Islamic Republic,
in 2016. Moreover, his words have been incendiary, threatening “the
official end of Iran.” Although U.S. intelligence officials admit
that Tehran’s confrontational rhetoric is largely a response to
Washington’s aggression, the administration’s military moves are
sharply increasing tensions as well as the possibility of a costly
mistake or misjudgment.

The War Party is active again in the Imperial City. Before
joining the administration, National Security Advisor John Bolton
forthrightly called for an attack on the Islamic Republic.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also demanded regime change in Iran.
More recently, he admitted that sanctions were intended to induce
the Iranian people to “change the government.” While claiming not
to seek war, he threatened retaliation for any attack by Iranian
“proxy forces” and on “American interests.”

Tehran has long been a favorite target of influential
neoconservatives and ultra-hawks. The invasion of Iraq almost
immediately led to calls for a turn to Tehran. Several years ago,
Patrick Clawson of the Washington Institute of Near East Policy
suggested staging a false flag operation: if “the Iranians aren’t
going to compromise,” he said, “it would be best if somebody else
started the war.” Today, Senator Tom Cotton predicts an easy
American victory.

The Saudis also openly favor an American war against Iran.
(Defense Secretary Robert Gates once quipped that Riyadh would
fight Iran “to the last American.”) A newspaper owned by the royal
family last week called on Washington to “hit hard.” Israeli
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has worked tirelessly to inflate
the Iranian “threat” and told a TV interviewer that he’d convinced
Trump to abandon the nuclear deal.

Yet conflict with Iran would be a disaster, far worse than with
Iraq. Even the Council on Foreign Relations’ Max Boot, a vocal
neoconservative and uber-hawk, has warned against this. And
Americans would not be the only casualties. Jason Rezaian, The
Washington Post
reporter who spent more than a year in an
Iranian prison, observed: “those who will suffer most have little
say in the matter. It’s the Iranian people who have borne the brunt
of 40 years of enmity …read more

Source: OP-EDS