Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Read These Books...

I have been reading. Not anything new about that. I have always read and in the forth grade I read more books than anyone except for some girl. Being busy with many things sometimes these day reduces me to a quick magazine article before drifting off to sleep. Over that past year I have found an author who really resonates with me as I pursue my interest in music, genealogy, history and if you are interested I think it gives insight to how we have come to the situation in politics we face in this election year. 

The books I am talking about are by author Ned Sublette with one of them being co authored by his wife Constance. Ned is a Texan, a musicologist, a composer, an author, a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, had a #1 record with "Cowboy Rumba" on the European World Music charts in 1999 and has produced the NPR show Afro Pop Worldwide. He's a smart guy. The books he has written and which I have read, three of which you see here (one is on the kindle, not a pretty picture) are "Cuba and it's Music", "The World that made New Orleans from Spanish Silver to Congo Square," "The Year Before the Flood, a Story of New Orleans," and "The American Slave Coast, a History of the Slave Breeding Industry." 

I suggest you read the World that Made New Orleans, The American Slave Coast and Cuba and It's Music first. These books are very historical taking you back to the Crusades and religious wars of Europe to set the cause and effect scene for the way things unfolded as the New World was formed into what we know it now. Everything is well footnoted and the letters and writings of the founders of the good old USA are often quoted. These are not opinions. They are history. As Faulkner said, "the Past is not Dead, it's not even past." 

If you want to discuss politics, history, music, race relations or the constitution with me you need to read these books. Some of the things inside are how the constitution is written to give slave owners power, with the footnotes and quotes to back this up. You can read good old Tom Mr. Liberty  Jeff's writings on how much each slave birth increased his wealth. Learn something about music with the facts that mostly sub Saharan people came to the USA as slaves which is why we have the banjo and fiddle, descendants of Islamic instruments and how Cuba, whose slaves were forest people got the drum. 

I mention my interest in genealogy. Many of my old ancestors came right into Virginia and moved right down through the Carolinas,  into Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas. They owned the slaves ( yes I'm ashamed) and fought the wars. Funny thing about those slave owners. They left evidence in their wills of how the slaves were to be divided up but they don't seem to have left a military service record. The ones with military records don't seem to have been slave owners and therefore we can make a pretty good argument (if you read the books you will see) that the soldiers were not rich people. It's always a rich man's war and while we complain about how ugly politics and race relations have become we can see that it has always been that way. If you keep a black man low enough you don't have to raise a cracker up very much. This is not a new tactic. Heck you can even get the cracker to fight and die for you. 

On the topic of slave breeding here is a will from an ancestor. Pretty telling that  he uses the same term, "increase" for slave births referring to the offspring as it just as they do in Ned's books. That "increase" was like a savings account for the family. 

Will of Robert Wiley, Maury County, 1820 
State of Tennessee, Maury County: In the name of God, Amen.
Robert Wiley    
  Will – Record Book C, page 221 – Columbia, Tennessee 
I, Robert Wiley, being weak in body but of sound and perfect mind and memory blessed be God for the same. I do make and publish this my last Will and Testament in manner and form following (that is to say) 
First I give and bequeath unto my beloved Wife Sarah Wiley all my personal Estate after my funeral expenses and just debts is paid, to have and to hold during her natural life as widowhood, Also my will is after the death or marriage of my wife that the negro boys Abram and Milford be sold to the highest bidder and the money arriving  from the sale to be equally divided among my children hereinafter named: John Wiley, Thomas Wiley, Robert S.Wiley, William Wiley,  Moses Wiley,  Andrew Wiley,  Polly Wiley, Margaret Wiley. 
Item 2nd I give and bequeath unto my son Alexander Wiley the track of land whereon I now live whereon his mother is to be supported during her life as widowhood by the care of said land.  Item 3rd I give and bequeath unto my 
daughter Sarah Thompson one negro woman named Flora after the death or marriage of my wife to her and her heirs forever, but provided the said negro woman Flora should have any increase before the death or marriage of my wife, my will is that it be sold and divided among the whole of my remaining heirs. 
And lastly I do hereby constitute and appoint my beloved wife and my son Alexander Wiley my Executive and Executor of this my last will and testament hereby working all other or former wills or testaments by me heretofore made in witness whereof I have hereonto set my hand and seal the thirty first day of August 1820.                   
Robert    X   Wiley                
Witness: Francis S. Perry              

Once you get the historical stuff out of the way and if you actually check up on Ned's sources and see that it's all true instead of taking a number in the Holocaust Denier queue should go ahead and pick up The Year Before the Flood. It will be a pleasure for you New Orleans junkies out there and instead of being a scholarly work it's written in Ned's own voice. Some who chose the queue won't like this book at all.. 

So there. If you are a banjo player I have probably ,made you mad calling your instrument Islamic. If you think the founding fathers had your interests in mind well they probably did if you were white and owned slaves. If your great great great grand father fought the Indians in Alabama (mine did) what did they tell those crackers about why? One thing I know is that you cannot say that is just the way it was back then. I am going to do what I can to make sure we don't go back that way. 

Here's some of Ned's Music.



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