19 Stories

Experts Track 1st Black Male Slave Freed by Lincoln

William Henry Costley apparently died in a Minnesota psychiatric hospital

(Newser) - Abraham Lincoln helped free a black male slave long before the Civil War, and researchers say they've found the man's grave—in a former psychiatric hospital's cemetery, the AP reports. A budding lawyer, Lincoln won a case before the Illinois Supreme Court in 1841 that released Nance... More »

China Police Free Factory Slave After 18 Years

They say 34-year-old man was kept locked up, forced to work

(Newser) - Police in China's Guangdong province say they have a freed a 34-year-old man who had been forced to work as a factory slave for 18 years, reports the South China Morning Post . Xie Shisheng was gaunt, terrified of leaving his locked room, and unsure about what year it was,... More »

12 Years a Slave Writer: Killed as Union Spy?

Solomon Northup vanished from history, and theories abound

(Newser) - Solomon Northup led an incredible life that inspired an Oscar-winning film, 12 Years a Slave—that much we know. But how Northup died remains a mystery that historians are still trying to solve, the AP reports. To recap, Northup was living with his family in upstate New York when two... More »

Juror Form Occupation Option: 'Slave'

DeKalb County Court quickly fixes weird problem

(Newser) - Perhaps the last thing you'd expect to see on a juror questionnaire: Under "occupation," the option of "slave." A Georgia juror told 11Alive about the bizarre choice at the DeKalb County Court, which recently switched to an online questionnaire. But a court administrator says the... More »

Slave Re-Enactment at School Field Trip Enrages Parents

Parents say some students were called the n-word

(Newser) - A school in Hartford is facing backlash from parents after a controversial field trip in which students were told to perform a slavery re-enactment. Newsy reports: More »

Obama Roots Traced to 1st African-American Slave genealogists spent 500 hours making the connection

(Newser) - has traced President Obama's roots back to Germany and linked him to Rush Limbaugh . Now the site has named a new potential Obama relative: the first documented African-American slave. CNN reports on the result of some 500 hours of work by four genealogists, who were able to... More »

Standing in Way of Alabama Walmart: Slave Graves

New Florence location's driveway could interfere with old cemetery

(Newser) - The headaches of new construction: obtaining permits, securing financing, making sure you don't disturb a slave graveyard. The New York Times reports on an unusual situation in Florence, Alabama, where Walmart has plans to open a new store. The issue is that its selected location abuts Coffee Cemetery, the... More »

2nd 'Underground Railroad' Ran South for 100 Years

Slaves fled southern states for Spanish-owned Florida

(Newser) - Turns out there was another Underground Railroad that helped Southern slaves escape their masters before the Civil War—only it ran the other way and relied partly on help from American Indians. Reporting on an upcoming conference in St. Augustine, Fla., the AP describes a lesser-known railroad that once shuttled... More »

Couple Charged With Keeping Woman as Slave

They confiscated her passport, forced her to get married

(Newser) - A grand jury indicted a Virginia couple on a host of charges this week, following allegations that they forced a woman into domestic servitude for a decade, threatening to shoot her or have her arrested if she tried to run away. According to the indictment, Gloria and Alfred Edwards, aged... More »

Arab Military Officer Busted for Rhode Island Slave

Colonel kept Filipino woman confined in US home as he attended school

(Newser) - A naval officer from the United Arab Emirates has been busted for keeping an unpaid servant while living in a tony Rhode Island neighborhood. Col. Arif Mohamed Saeed Mohamed Al-Ali was nabbed as he attempted to board a flight out of New York's JFK airport. He pleaded guilty last week... More »

Another Teacher Blasted for Mock Slave Auction

And this time, all the black students told to play slaves

(Newser) - Note to teachers: Perhaps it would be a good idea to skip the mock slave auctions while covering the Civil War. Parents are in an uproar after yet another elementary school engaged in such a lesson, this time in Norfolk, Virginia, on April 1. Jessica Boyle told all the black... More »

Black Student Assigned to Play Slave in Mock Auction

School apologizes after mom complains

(Newser) - An elementary school Social Studies lesson in Ohio turned controversial last week when a black student was chosen to play a slave in a mock slave auction. Nikko Burton, 10, is one of two black students in the class; the other was assigned to play a master, the AP reports.... More »

How 'Washington' Became America's 'Blackest Name'

Were former slaves honoring George, embracing America?

(Newser) - George Washington’s name is synonymous with America—and of the people who bear his surname today, 90% of them are African-American, according to the 2000 census. How did “Washington” become, as Jesse Washington, writing for the AP calls it, the “blackest name" in America? It could be... More »

MSNBC Host Sorry for Steele 'Dancing Slave' Dig

'I've had to put up with that crap all my life,' Steele complains

(Newser) - MSNBC host Lawrence O'Donnell has apologized for his implication that Republican Party chief Michael Steele is a "slave" of the GOP. An angry Steele left a message complaining to Lawrence O'Donnell after he said on his program The Last Word earlier this week that Steele "is dancing as... More »

Dad Chains, Auctions Off Son

Chinese boy now in police care

(Newser) - A Chinese father was attacked by passers-by when he tried to auction off his child on the street. He chained the boy, 8, to a lamppost near a sign describing his strong work ethic. Perhaps even more shocking: There were apparently bidders, who wanted to know how much the youngster... More »

Jacko Bro Plans Slavery Theme Park

Historians condemn $3.4B project

(Newser) - Michael Jackson's big brother Marlon wants to bring tourists to Nigeria by building a $3.4 billion resort—complete with an ever-so-slightly controversial slavery theme park, a replica slave ship, oh, and a Jackson Five exhibit, the Telegraph reports. Visitors to the park, located in Badagry, the departure point for... More »

$621M Hill Visitor Center Opens

Building will accommodate tourists visiting Capitol

(Newser) - Congressional leaders spoke today at the opening of the Capitol Visitor Center, the Hill reports. The center, which was heavily delayed throughout its 6 years construction and cost a well-over-budget $621 million, will be the first stop for visitors to the Capitol, who previously had to wait in long lines... More »

Miss. McCains Descended From Plantation Slaves

Mississippi descendants of McCain family slaves plan to vote for Obama

(Newser) - The McCain family of Teoc, Miss., is watching this year's election with particular interest, the Wall Street Journal reports. The African-American clan is descended from plantation slaves owned by the family of John McCain's great-great-grandfather. The white and black McCains meet for regular family reunions, although the senator himself has... More »

Child Slavery Scandal Blows Up in China

Kids kidnapped, sent to work in brick kilns rescued in giant crackdown

(Newser) - A child labor scandal is rocking rural China as information surfaces on kidnapped children forced to work as slaves in the country's brick factories. In crackdowns this week, nearly 50,000 police in two Chinese provinces have rescued 550 people, including dozens of the thousands of children believed to be... More »

19 Stories