Enslaved people are not immigrants

Ben Carson, photo credit Mother Jones

Dr. Ben Carson, recognized as a brilliant surgeon, used some “alternative facts” in comments to the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) staff today, as he begins his work there as the Secretary of the agency. Carson chose to describe enslaved people forced onto boats and brought to the United States, as immigrants.

I looked up immigrant, and I never found a definition that parallels definitions of enslave, “To enslave someone is to force that person to work for no pay, to obey commands, and to lose his or her freedom.”

Carson told HUD staffers, “There were other immigrants who came here in the bottom of slave ships, worked even longer, even harder for less. But they too had a dream that one day their sons, daughters, grandsons, granddaughters, great-grandsons, great-granddaughters, might pursue prosperity and happiness in this land.”

What alternative history book did Carson get that version of optimism on the part of enslaved people? I’d say you couldn’t make this stuff up and try to pass it off as the truth, but if you are Secretary Carson, apparently, you can try.

Hancock County has lost a treasure


Hancock County courthouse built in 1883, Georgia Trust photo
Hancock County Courthouse,1883, Georgia Trust photo
photo from 13 WMAZ
photo from 13 WMAZ

Hancock County and Georgia lost a beautiful building early this morning when the Hancock County Courthouse burned. Last year the building was placed on the Georgia Trust’s “Places in Peril” list. Hancock County is the poorest county in Georgia, and the 55th poorest in the country (US Census data).

I visited the courthouse many years ago to look up a piece of property. The courtroom reminded me of the one made famous in To Kill a Mockingbird. This is a huge loss not only for the citizens there, but for the architectural and historic value of the building, in addition to any records lost since it was built in 1883.

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