PROJECT 2019

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Recognizing "Slavery" As A "Proper Noun"


Black America should demand the recognition of "Slavery" as a proper noun (upper-case "S") when referring to:

"The institution of chattel slavery in North and South America involving African people and their descendants from the 16th century through the latter part of the 19th century. Also, "chattel slavery in America during the 246 year period from 1619 to 1865."

ONE OBVIOUS JUSTIFICATION FOR USING "SLAVERY" AS A PROPER NOUN
In all major dictionaries, there is a definition for the word "holocaust" as a "noun" -- and a definition for "Holocaust" as a "proper noun." For example, in addition to its definition of "holocaust" as a noun, Random House defines "Holocaust" (as a proper noun) as "the systematic mass extermination of European Jews in Nazi concentration camps prior to and during WWII."

If "Holocaust" is recognized as a proper noun to define what Nazi Germany did to European Jews for 12 years, then "Slavery" should be recognized as a proper noun to define what was done to African people for almost 400 years.

Below is a brief excerpt from the book, "Project 2019:Socioeconomic Equality Through Formal Education," that provides additional information.

From: "PROJECT 2019 : ISSUE 3 -- Black America Must Take A Look At The People In The Mirror"

When black Americans are taught American history, it is the history of white America. Even when black Americans are taught world history, it is the history of the white world. Early in their academic careers, most black Americans learn about World War II and the Holocaust. The word "holocaust" is an Old Testament sacrificial term that is defined as "thorough destruction, especially by fire." Almost all dictionaries also list "Holocaust" as a proper noun to define the persecution and genocidal slaughter of European Jews by Nazi Germany before and during World War II.

Over a period of twelve years, European Jews were attacked, tormented, and murdered. Their property was confiscated or destroyed. Jewish families were torn apart, frightened children were snatched from the arms of their grieving parents, and many Jewish women were the victims of rape. Some Jews were subjected to unethical medical experiments, other were used as slave laborers, and still others had to endure the horrors of concentration camps for many weeks or months. Ultimately, more than six million Jews died as a result of starvation, by firing squads and electrocution, and in gas chambers that at times operated twenty-four hours a day.

One can not help being dismayed and disheartened by this episode of man's inhumanity to his fellow man. However, one should not conclude that the wanton and abject cruelty heaped upon the Jewish people by Nazi Germany was humankind's only or most grievous case of man's inhumanity to man. Unfortunately, there have been a number of "holocaust type" episodes in the history of humankind.

There are stories of the destruction of nations in the Old Testament of the Bible as well as historical evidence of a number of mass executions in ancient times. These holocaust type episodes continued with the persecution of early Christians at the hands of the Romans and, as recently as the 1970's, more than one million Cambodians were put to death by Pol Pot and his followers, the Khmer Rouge. With estimates of up to fifty million deaths, World War II itself certainly qualifies as a holocaust type episode in the history of humankind. And, of course, there is "Slavery."

Slavery more than qualifies as a holocaust type episode in the annals of human history. In fact, black America should insist that, in addition to the current definitions of "slavery," it should also be defined as a proper noun with the definition being "the institution of chattel slavery in America during the 246 year period from 1619 to 1865." After all, there is no more definitive instance of the institution of slavery in the history of humankind. If it is appropriate for history to record what happened to Jews as the "Holocaust," it is certainly appropriate for history to record what happened to Africans and black Americans as "Slavery."


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