July 25, Teaching Benefits of Slavery

The truth about black slavery might make white kids feel sad,
A civil war fought to preserve it, bloodiest we’ve had,
So Florida will whitewash it and teach the “benefit”
Of some skills that black slaves were taught, so white kids might feel glad.

Their schools will teach skills black slaves learned, though for the benefit
Of slaveholders who taught them but then did not manumit.
The value of such slaves increased when on the auction block.
A benefit for Negro slaves? Perhaps… if they could quit.

A slave who was a blacksmith, worth more on the auction block,
As were stonemasons, carpenters, in each slaveholder’s stock.
In fact, slaves with such skills built much of Washington D.C.
They didn’t win their freedom, though; they stayed high-skilled livestock.

In fact, slaves were assigned to help build Washington D.C.
George Washington, in his will, would set all of his slaves free.
But Jefferson did not, in fact, he set free only ten. (1)
His slaves with skills were valuable; and he faced bankruptcy.

Yes, he of soaring, noble words had set free only ten.
So much for the equality he claimed was due all men.
Today, the thought we’re equal, or should be, makes some folks mad.
So Florida is trying to excuse our grievous sin.

The thought we should be equal, still today, makes some folks mad.
They mostly are Republicans, whose future’s looking bad,
If they let every citizen go register and vote.
For after all, that’s what our Founding Fathers had forbade. (2)

Today, Red States don’t want to let too many black folks vote.
If they have skills, OK but voting rights remain remote.
So Florida says teaching slaves some skills was good for them,
Implying slavery had some benefits (as a footnote.)

(1) Of about 600 that he owned. Jefferson did not free Sally Hemmings but his daughter, Martha, did after his death. Jefferson’s will did free two of the children he had with Hemmings.
(2) Back when the Constitution was written, our Founding Fathers spoke British English. “Forbade” was pronounced, “forbad.”