Monday, June 06, 2005

Modern-day slavery in Jacksonville, Florida USA

Some of my ancestors were enslaved in east and middle Tennessee and the western NC mountains (and many other places), so I can't stand hearing organisations (mostly based in London and New York) go on and on about modern-day slavery in some foreign country. For such groups it's more important to disconnect "modern-day" abuses from where and what real enslavement - imposed by racial laws and custom - has been. The same organisations hire zero Black Americans - the world's population who created the best known, most effective campaign for rights of the formerly enslaved. But who cares about that?? Those organisations have zilch interest or expertise in enslavement realities and legacies with which we live and die here in the Americas - whether Mexico (Vicente 'not even the Blacks' Fox referred to us just the other day), Haiti, Brasil, and on and on , including the USA. Now today CNN's reporting on a private "farm labor camp" in Florida where homeless Black Americans are lured, trapped, forced to work, then held in debt.

Let me know when "Antislavery International" - or whatever the name is - finally does something, cause the same exact kind of exploitation was reported almost 2 years ago in a 3-part Miami Herald series by journalist Ronnie Greene in Aug-Sept 2003:

Florida farmhands reap a harvest of poverty, pain and exploitation, by Ronnie Greene, Miami Herald, Aug 2003

And almost 50 years ago Tennessee Ernie Ford sang Merle Travis's song, SIXTEEN TONS . Merle Travis was from Ebeneezer, Kentucky.

Some people say a man is made out of mud
A poor man's made out of muscle and blood
Muscle and blood, skin and bones...
A mind that's weak and a back that's strong


You load sixteen tons, and what do you get?
another day older and deeper in debt
St. Peter, don't you call me, 'cause I can't go
I owe my soul to the company store

I was born one mornin' and the sun didn't shine
I picked up my shovel and I walked to the mine
I loaded sixteen tons of number nine coal and
the straw boss said, 'well bless my soul!' loaded...

I was born one mornin' it was drizzlin' rain
fightin' and trouble are my middle name
I was raised in a cane-brake by an old mama lion
can't no high-toned woman make me walk no line

If you see me comin', better step aside
A lot of men didn't, a lot of men died
One fist of iron, the other of steel
If the right one don't get you, then the left one will

You load sixteen tons, and what do you get?
Another day older and deeper in debt
St. Peter don't you call me, 'cause I can't go
I owe my soul to the company store

'Sixteen Tons' ~ Elvis Presley Music


Blogger Brook said...

I heard about this on NPR yesterday and have to say I am NOT SURPRISED. i grew up in central florida (leesburg, before moving to the beach) in orange grove country and the growers down there have a long history of this kind of abuse. i am so glad it's finally getting attention!

drive thru grove country sometime and notice the worker's camps -- dormitory shacks -- it's worse than you can imagine. not just the way the people are treated... but the grinding poverty and illiteracy that provide fodder for these criminals. parts of rural FL have never left the 1930's -- this right next to places like Ocala where there's so much wealth it makes your head swim.

Monday, June 06, 2005 11:24:00 AM  
Blogger Marian D. said...

Thanks for the fb [feedback] Brook. For some reason, earlier, blogger software was giving me grief; but obviously it then posted OK. And it's actually 12:50pm over here. Marian

Monday, June 06, 2005 11:51:00 AM  

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