Tag Archive | Slavery

On this day March 21, 1937

18 people and a 7-yr-old girl in Ponce, Puerto Rico are gunned down by a police squad acting under orders of US-appointed PR Governor, Blanton C. Winship.


Blanton Winship

The Ponce Massacre is a violent chapter in the history of Puerto Rico. On March 21, 1937 (Palm Sunday) a march was organized in the southern city of Ponce, Puerto Rico by the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party.

The march, organized to commemorate the end of Slavery in 1873, was also formed to protest the incarceration of nationalist leader Pedro Albizu Campos, as well as to demand Puerto Rico’s independence from the United States.

Days before, the march organizers applied for and received permits for a peaceful protest with the municipality of Ponce, under Jose Tormos Diego. Read More…

On this day May 18, 1652

Rhode Island passes the first law in North America making slavery illegal. Slavery is a form of forced labor in which people are considered to be, or treated as, the property of others.

Slaves can be held against their will from the time of their capture, purchase or birth, and deprived of the right to leave, to refuse to work, or to receive compensation (such as wages).

Evidence of slavery predates written records, and has existed to varying extents, forms and periods in almost all cultures and continents. In some societies, slavery existed as a legal institution or socio-economic system, but today it is formally outlawed in nearly all countries. Nevertheless, the practice continues in various forms around the world. Read More…

On this day March 25, 1807

The Slave Trade Act becomes law, abolishing the slave trade in the British Empire. The Slave Trade Act, an Act of Parliament of the United Kingdom passed on 25 March 1807, with the long title “An Act for the Abolition of the Slave Trade”.

A replica of the Zong

A replica of the Zong

The original act is in the Parliamentary Archives. The act abolished the slave trade in the British Empire, but not slavery itself; that remained legal until the Slavery Abolition Act 1833.

The British trade in slaves began in 1562, during the reign of Elizabeth I, when John Hawkins led the first slaving expedition.

The Committee for the Abolition of the Slave Trade, which led the campaign that pushed the act through, was a group of Evangelical Protestants allied with Quakers and united in their opposition to slavery and the slave trade. Read More…

On this day March 6, 1820

The Missouri Compromise is signed into law by President James Monroe. The compromise allows Missouri to enter the Union as a slave state, but makes the rest of the northern part of the Louisiana Purchase territory slavery-free.

The Missouri Compromise prohibited slavery in the Unorganized territory of the Great Plains (dark green) and permitted it in Missouri (yellow) and the Arkansas Territory (lower blue area)

The Missouri Compromise prohibited slavery in the Unorganized territory of the Great Plains (dark green) and permitted it in Missouri (yellow) and the Arkansas Territory (lower blue area)

The Missouri Compromise was an agreement passed in 1820 between the pro-slavery and anti-slavery factions in the United States Congress, involving primarily the regulation of slavery in the western territories.

It prohibited slavery in the former Louisiana Territory north of the parallel 36°30′ north except within the boundaries of the proposed state of Missouri. Prior to the agreement, the House of Representatives had refused to accept this compromise and a conference committee was appointed. The United States Senate refused to concur in the amendment, and the whole measure was lost.

On this day November 20, 1695

Zumbi was captured and beheaded on the spot, the Portuguese transported Zumbi’s head to Recife, where it was displayed in the central praça as proof that, contrary to popular legend among African slaves, Zumbi was not immortal.

This was also done as a warning of what would happen to others if they tried to be as brave as him. Remnants of quilombo dwellers continued to reside in the region for another hundred years. Read More…

On this day October 11, 1865

The Morant Bay rebellion began when Paul Bogle led 200 to 300 black men and women into the town of Morant Bay, parish of St. Thomas in the East, Jamaica.

Edward John Eyre

The rebellion and its aftermath were a major turning point in Jamaica’s history, also generated a significant political debate in Britain. Today, the rebellion remains controversial, and is frequently mentioned by specialists in black and in colonial studies.

On October 7, 1865 a black man was put on trial and imprisoned for trespassing on a long-abandoned plantation, creating anger among black Jamaicans. When one member of a group of black protesters from the village of Stony Gut was arrested, the protesters became unruly and broke the accused man from prison. Read More…

On this day September 23, 1868

El Grito de Lares was the revolt against Spanish rule in Puerto Rico on September 23, 1868, in the town of Lares, Puerto Rico.

The Lares uprising was planned well before that date by a group led by Dr. Ramón Emeterio Betances and Segundo Ruiz Belvis, who on January 6, 1868 founded the “Comité Revolucionario de Puerto Rico” (Revolutionary Committee of Puerto Rico) from their exile in the Dominican Republic.

Betances authored several “Proclamas” or statements attacking the exploitation of the Puerto Ricans by the Spanish colonial system and called for immediate insurrection. These statements soon circulated throughout the island as local dissident groups began to organize.