Reading and slave insurrection.


News report:

The Australian children’s book author Mem Fox has suggested she might never return to the US after she was detained and insulted by border control agents at Los Angeles airport.

Fox, who is famous worldwide for her best-selling books including Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes and Possum Magic, was en route to a conference in Milwaukee earlier this month when she was stopped.

She told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation she was questioned by border agents for two hours in front of a room full of people – an experience that left her feeling like she had been physically assaulted.

“I have never in my life been spoken to with such insolence, treated with such disdain, with so many insults and with so much gratuitous impoliteness,” Fox said.


Whereas the teaching of slaves to read and write has a tendency to excite dissatisfaction in their minds and to produce insurrection and rebellion to the manifest injury of the citizens of this state: Therefore

Be it enacted by the General Asembly of the State of North Carolina, and it is hereby enacted by the authority of the same, that any free person who shall hereafter teach or attempt to teach any slave within this State to read or write, the use of figures excepted, Shall be liable to indictment in any court of record in the State having jurisdiction thereof, and upon conviction shall at the discretion of the court if a white man or woman be fined not less than one hundred dollars nor more than two hundred dollars or imprisoned and if a free person of colour shall be whipped at the discretion of the court not exceeding thirty nine lashes nor less than twenty lashes.

Be it further enacted that if any slave shall hereafter teach or attempt to teach any other slave to read or write the use of figures excepted, he or she may be carried before any justice of the peace and on conviction thereof shall be sentenced to receive thirty nine lashes on his or her bare back.

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11 thoughts on “Reading and slave insurrection.

  1. I wonder if this is why the government supports a reading philosophy that fails so many students. Students who not memorize words well are left behind. Hard to believe we still pass students a long from grade to grade without teaching them to read and spell. It’s also alraming that higher ed programs do not teach reading specialists how to actually teach reading and spelling.

    1. When I started teaching in the 70’s, I was called in to my principal’s office for giving a student an F on his progress report. This middle school student was playful in the classroom, non-attentive, and non-productive. It was strongly “suggested” by my principal, that I change the grade. I was a green rookie and knew of this principal’s wrath, and his don’t rock the boat policy. I caved in for purposes of survival. It was obvious that the student had been pushed along to the point where he was when he ended up with me in the sixth grade. Looking back, I still think the principal should have backed me. The policy that Shawnamay speaks of was quite popular back then. All through my collegiate studies had the existence of this type of policy ever been mentioned. That was my first encounter, and it was an eye-opener.

    1. So, in your mind that explains her treatment, and of others, at the hands of immigration authorities? And what part of the story of slavery am I missing?

  2. lest we not forget.from 1783 till 1865 the US tolerated slavery.From 1609 until 1783 English and other nations brought slaves to the the colonies.While a US institution for about eighty years. Slavery was a fact of life for almost two hundred years. Granted one day was too much The US did not start slavery.
    About 300,000 Union dead ended this scourge.remember that also.

  3. Don’t forget that although there are,admittedly, many car thieves in ILLINOIS…there are also many other car thieves in other States?

    Wha?…Huh?…did I miss Bob’s point?

  4. Knowledge is a power the powerful have always desired to control.

    The DownPresserMan’s brutal methods are still on display…just more so in an institutionalized way.

    Mass incarceration is a reiteration of slavery.

    If any reader disbelieves that fact…I challenge that reader to spend a couple of years in The Big House…or…as prisoners in that Big House call it…The House of Pain.

    Is the descriptive term “Big House” familiar?…It’s a Plantation word…used by Slaves.

    When did Slavery end?…give it a hard think before answering…preferably just after you gate from Prison 2018?…but lest we forget…The United States of America didn’t invent Prisons either?

    I suggest reading Michel Foucault on punishment…and then take an inside tour of Stateville.

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