Can we probe how Massachusetts profited from le Grand Derangement as well?

The Massachusetts legislature is at it again with a completely useless bill.  While the Commonwealth is in the midst of the worst financial crisis in many generations, our Democratic super-majority legislature is focusing on determining how much companies profited from the 17th and 18th century African slave trade.

A bill before the legislature would require some of Massachusetts oldest banking, financial and insurance companies to look deep into their history — and the histories of subsidiaries and predecessor companies — to uncover links to the slave trade, as a condition of doing business with the state.

It also would authorize the secretary of state to produce a book documenting to what extent the state, since the times of the Massachusetts Bay and Plymouth colonies, benefited from slavery, whether through taxes or economic growth.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Byron Rushing, D-Boston, said understanding that difficult history is key to any future discussion of apologies or reparation claims tied to slavery. He said most people underestimate the economic significance of slavery to the growth of the country and the state.

“Part of the problem is that people are ignorant of what slavery actually was,” he said. “Most people’s views of slavery are attached to abolition — not the ongoing horror of slavery, but the end of slavery.”

In an ironic twist Steve Leblanc of the Boston Globe wrote that story.  While I am not 100 percent sure a good probability has it that Mr. Leblanc is of Acadian descent, as are most people with the last name Leblanc in North America.  If any people deserve an accounting of the profits of Massachsuetts regarding their treatment at the hands of Massachusetts it is people who share my Acadian Ancestry.

You see it was Massachusetts militia men who enforced the deportation decree by Charles Lawrence.  It was Massachusetts Men who enforced what by now would be called an ethnic cleansing, or even a genocide.  It was Massachusetts men, who moved to Acadia, now called New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, and stole our farms, our possesions, and our dignity.  So while I think it is ridiculous to focus on the past, while we are can the Acadians get some love from the legislature too?  

History is filled with people who have done evil things.  Should we today be responsible for evil committed in the past. If so where should we stop?  Should the descendants of Angles and Saxons in Britain be able to sue the people of Normandy in France?  Should ethnic Romans be able to sue the Visigoths?  Where does it end?

About Rob "EaBo Clipper" Eno

  • Brian Gilmore, executive vice president of the Associated Industries of Massachusetts, which represents 7,000 businesses and employers, said he hadn’t read the bill, but said most businesses are having enough trouble just trying keep their doors open.

    Read the bill!

    Even in better economic times there is always some excuse for why this can’t be done.  Brad Jones concedes the point when he says that slavery is “a historical stain that is never going to be erased”  and then suggests it should be done by a university.  That’s the point, a university can’t do this because companies would never give up the information voluntarily.  Let’s do this.

  • Just curious, how come these posts show up 2-3 times on twitter?

  • nomad943

    Gee .. you wouldnt suppose this is the first step towards Jesse Jackson lifes dream? Personaly I dont give a crap what happened hundreds of years ago, outside of the historic lesson itself, but there are some whos visions include the “pay to the order of” part. And who will, in the end, be doing the paying?

  • It was all about religion was it not?  I would appreciate a website where I could find out more.  

  • geo999

    Are you intending to research the lineage of every 17th century stockholder of every ancient institution so that you can shame them or target them for shakedown?

    Do you intend to go to the courts in an attempt to extract payments from these companies, or from the descendants of principals or investors now long dead? And if so, payments to whom?

    Just how far are you willing to take this insanity, Mr. Rushing?

    Your charge of ignorance about the historic ramifications of slavery is a gratuitous insult – as if you, Byron Rushing, are somehow superior to the rabble in understanding the evils of human bondage. What tripe.

    I am rather doubtful that you are motivated by a desire to broaden our understanding of state history.

    Personally, I believe that you are motivated by bitterness, hate, and greed.

  • Yes, as a descendant of Acadians, you are subject no doubt to the same cultural, economic, and political biases to which I have seen so many black people subject during my lifetimes.

    What a stupid analogy.

    The Mass legislature should focus only on AMERICA’S GLORIOUS PAST and not dwell on the unseemly. Since that’s teh only past folks on here seem aware of.