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Sioux Falls Free Thinkers endorse An Imperfect God for showing us
in spite of the evidence historians still try to save the reputation of
the founding slaver. He promised the blacks freedom if they would
fight against England. Guess what! He lied! And he fathered
children with his black slave women to "improve the stock."
Wonder how much choice he gave them in his raping them.

An Imperfect God
George Washington, His Slaves,
and the Creation of America

An Imperfect God by Henry Wiencek (2013) - 431 pages
An Imperfect God at Amazon.com

An Imperfect God is a major new biography of Washington,
and the first to explore his engagement with American slavery.

When George Washington wrote his will, he made the startling decision to set his slaves free; earlier he had said that holding slaves was his "only unavoidable subject of regret." In this groundbreaking work, Henry Wiencek explores the founding father's engagement with slavery at every stage of his life - as a Virginia planter, soldier, politician, president and statesman.

Washington was born and raised among blacks and mixed-race people; he and his wife had blood ties to the slave community. Yet as a young man he bought and sold slaves without scruple, even raffled off children to collect debts (an incident ignored by earlier biographers). Then, on the Revolutionary battlefields where he commanded both black and white troops, Washington's attitudes began to change. He and the other framers enshrined slavery in the Constitution, but Wiencek shows, even before he became president, Washington had begun to see the system's evil.

Wiencek's revelatory narrative, based on a meticulous examination of private papers, court records, and the voluminous Washington archives, documents for the first time the moral transformation culminating in Washington's determination to emancipate his slaves. He acted too late to keep the new republic from perpetuating slavery, but his repentance was genuine. And it was perhaps related to the possibility - as the oral history of Mount Vernon's slave descendants has long asserted - that a slave named West Ford was the son of George and a woman named Venus; Wiencek has new evidence that this could indeed have been true.

George Washington's heroic stature as Father of Our Country is not diminished in this superb, nuanced portrait: now we see Washington in full as a man of his time and ahead of his time.

8-29-19 The hidden links between slavery and Wall Street
This month marks 400 years since enslaved Africans were first brought to what is now the United States of America. Slavery was officially abolished in the US in 1865, but historians say the legacy of slavery cannot be untangled from its economic impact. On a hot August day, 25 people are gathered around a small commemorative sign in New York's financial district. Their tour guide explains that this was the site of one of the US' largest slave markets. Just two streets away from the current site of the New York Stock Exchange, men, women and children were bought and sold. "This is not black history," says Damaris Obi who leads the tour. "This is not New York City or American history. This is world history." It is also economic history. Stacey Toussaint, the boss of Inside Out Tours, which runs the NYC Slavery and Underground Railroad tour, says people are often surprised by how important slavery was to New York City. "They don't realise that enslaved people built the wall after which Wall Street is named," she says. By some estimates, New York received 40% of US cotton revenue through money its financial firms, shipping businesses and insurance companies earned. But scholars differ on just how direct a line can be drawn between slavery and modern economic practices in the US. "People in non-slave areas - Britain and free US states - routinely did business with slave owners and slave commerce," says Gavin Wright, professor emeritus of economic history at Stanford University. But he says the "uniqueness" of slavery's economic contribution has been "exaggerated" by some. Slavery thrived under colonial rule. British and Dutch settlers relied on enslaved people to help establish farms and build the new towns and cities that would eventually become the United States. Enslaved people were brought to work on the cotton, sugar and tobacco plantations. The crops they grew were sent to Europe or to the northern colonies, to be turned into finished products. Those finished goods were used to fund trips to Africa to obtain more slaves who were then trafficked back to America. This triangular trading route was profitable for investors. To raise the money to start many future plantation owners turned to capital markets in London - selling debt that was used to purchase boats, goods and eventually people.

An Imperfect God
George Washington, His Slaves,
and the Creation of America

Sioux Falls Free Thinkers endorse An Imperfect God for showing us
in spite of the evidence historians still try to save the reputation of
the founding slaver. He promised the blacks freedom if they would
fight against England. Guess what! He lied! And he fathered
children with his black slave women to "improve the stock."
Wonder how much choice he gave them in his raping them.