Saturday, May 28, 2016

Myths Never Die: Millions of Slaves Imported

Since the NYTimes doesn't offer a comment section on this article about what DNA tests of African-Americans show about their migrations, I'm <s>nitpicking</s> criticizing here.

Its first three sentences read:
"The history of African-Americans has been shaped in part by two great journeys.

The first brought millions of Africans to the southern United States as slaves. The second, the Great Migration, began around 1910 and sent six million African-Americans from the South to New York, Chicago and other cities across the country."
 Two serious errors in the second sentence.  First, the colonies and the US did not import "millions" of slaves.  In fact, as Prof. Gates of Harvard writes here, there were less than 400,000 imported.  The vast majority of the close to 13 million slaves went to the Caribbean and South America.

Second, a bit less serious, the South wasn't the only region importing slaves, the Middle Atlantic and New England colonies/states also participated.

Slavery was bad enough, it doesn't need to be clothed in mythical figures.

[I see the Times has issued a correction for the millions figure as of 5/31]

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