When it came to forcing labor from enslaved people, American slave owners were frighteningly creative in coming up with methods to compel obedience from the slaves they controlled. Because of the economics involved, slave owners and their hired overseers had to work out threats and punishments that would frighten the slaves into submission but not completely incapacitate the person and so devalue them as property.
I was reading a letter in The Liberator from a traveler who claimed to have witnessed the tortuous events shown below. That letter introduced me to the term “cat-hauling.” It was a new one to me so I started looking around and found it mentioned in multiple sources where punishment techniques were itemized like the one below:
“A Typical Slave” – Harper’s Weekly, 1863
The ordinary mode of punishing the slaves is both cruel and barbarous. The masters seldom, if ever, try to govern their slaves by moral influence, but by whipping, kicking, beating, starving, branding, cat-hauling, loading with irons, imprisoning, or by some other cruel mode of torturing. They often boast of having invented some new mode of torture, by which they have “tamed the rascals.” What is called a moderate flogging at the south is horribly cruel.
Should we whip our horses for any offence as they whip their slaves for small offences, we should expose ourselves to the penalty of the law.
—American Slavery as it is: Testimony of a Thousand Witnesses
Exit Art was founded in 1982 by artist Papo Colo and curator Jeanette Ingberman during the alternative space movement. The founders saw a lack of exposure for artists whose work challenged social, political, or sexual norms and raised difficult questions of race, ethnicity, gender and equality.
Exit Art has had, as its goal, the mission of connecting beyond the art world through thematic exhibitions exploring critical issues in contemporary society.
One themed exhibit in 2002 called Reactions presented over 2,500 responses to how 9/11 changed public and private behavior. The exhibit was acquired by the Library of Congress for its American Memory project.
A few of the items are shown below.
Many of these were part of the Exit Art Gallery "Reactions Collection: A Global Response to the 9/11 Attacks". It was acquired on all of our behalf by the Library of Congress in 2002.
Posted by Words From Us on Friday, September 11, 2015
The Citizens’ Council, the official paper of the Citizens’ Councils of America, contains a wealth of information for anyone interested in point of view of white Southerners who were opposed to a racially integrated society.
The February 1957 issue contained the start of a series of articles called A Manual for Southerners. It opens with this editor’s note:
With this issue, we begin the publication in serial form of “A Manual for Southerners” Lest our friends in other sections of the country feel that we are becoming too ardent “Confederates,” let us hasten to say that we are not. The truth is that for too long Southern children have been “progressively educated” to scorn their origins and the reasons for our bi-racial society.
“A Manual for Southerners” seeks to correct this.
The portion appearing in this issue is for use in grades 3 and 4. However, there are many adults who might benefit from a review of these fundamental truths.
This first installment is reproduced in its entirety below. I found it rather hard to stomach reading the whole thing, particularly when I focus on the fact that this is meant for 8 or 9 year old children.
Rules for Southerners
GOD MADE FOUR RACESGod made all of the people in the world. He made some of them white. He made some of them black. He made some of them yellow. And He made some of them red.
GOD PUT EACH RACE BY ITSELFGod put the white people off by themselves. He put the yellow, red, and black people by themselves. God wanted the white people to live alone. And He wanted the colored people to live alone. That is why He put them off by themselves.
During the Revolutionary War, British forces helped to swell their forces and weaken the rebellious colonists by reducing the number of black slaves available — most particularly to the rebels in South Carolina and Georgia.
W.B. Hartgrove described the events in The Negro Soldier in the American Revolution in The Journal of Negro History, Volume 1. in April 1916.