Nathaniel Bacon Burning of Jamestown

Triggered mainly by circumstances resulting from Bacon’s Rebellion of 1676, in 1705, Virginia Colony’s House of Burgesses enacted “Slave Codes” that established a mind-set which, 70 years in the future would allow the founders of a republic blatantly to ignore the high-minded sentiments that they had expressed in a document intended to free themselves from what they quite cynically considered to be stifling oppression! That same mind-set, which soon after its birth developed into the psychological norm, almost a century later required close to a million mortal sacrifices to sustain the murky, ill-conceived compact agreed upon by the colonists. That skewed, psychological inset dragged us along for another hundred years. Today, although progressively dealing with the fallout, the remnants of that artificially created, psychological disorder are difficult to dislodge.

In my piece on the Ken Burns’ treatment of the Jackie Robinson story, I mentioned an endless chain and infected blood vessel. What is obvious, but not often mentioned, is that both White and Black are attached to those infernal appendages, which were locked onto us by that 1705 legislation. We need only consider those grieving, post-bellum mothers, wives and sisters. Here is a brief chronicle of the period that led to the “Slave Codes”:

· In 1607, Jamestown became the first, permanent English settlement in North America.

· In 1619, the first Africans arrived at Jamestown. They were discovered aboard a captive Dutch slave ship. In the settlement, they were treated, essentially, the same as the indentured servants who came from England.

· In 1676, Nathaniel Bacon led a rebellion against Governor James Berkeley, who, among his ineffectiveness in protecting the colony against the Algonquin Indians, he also disrespected Bacon and excluded him from fur-trading.

· Eventually, the whole colony rose up against Berkeley, who was forced to flee.

· When order was restored, it was noted by the aristocracy that the White and Black servants had fought together against the establishment. It was those concerns that ultimately culminated in the enactment of the Slave Codes of 1705.

· A permanent, dividing line was drawn between Black and White. Blacks were “property;” Whites were “people.”

Laws of Virginia

Today, there are reports of increased drug addiction, suicide, insecurity and general discontent among the White middle class. We pretend not to know why, and blame it on the advancement of technology and the disappearance of manufacturing. Well, partially, but have we forgotten those hysterical and violent assemblages – both North and South – in defiance of Civil Rights’ enforcement? And, more currently, are we discarding the psychological effect motivated by the fact that the majority population is decreasing and minorities are increasing? Well, of course we are ignoring those salient facts – in the same way we have ignored the fact that we have been living a lie since 1776! It is all part of a psychosis. The derangement began when, quite pointedly, in 1705, it was definitively resolved and adjudicated that we would, “live in a house, half-slave and half-free.”

No need, here, for social scientists or psychiatrists – or is there?!

***** ***** *****

Ancient of Days, thou hast us failed!

Oft have we ‘gainst thy judgement wailed.

Tears mend not our plight.

Long gone is the fight.

Act thee, now, ere our ship hath sailed!

Curtis W. Long

Curtis W. Long

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