Toure is a media personality that hosts a couple of podcasts, has authored six books, and has enjoyed a wide-ranging broadcast career, hosting on MSNBC, appearing regularly on CNN, and more.
One of the great benefits of these United States is that two people like Toure and myself, who clearly see the world from very different angles, can both freely express our opinions. Toure is a product of excellent educational opportunities, attending Milton Academy as a kid, Emory University, and then was part of a year-long writing program at Columbia University.
His work ethic and his desire to amplify the voice of the Black community are to be admired, except with that desire to be heard comes a responsibility to share accurate and complete information. Like many of those promoting critical race theory and social justice, Toure falls woefully short in this responsibility.
On July 3 the publication theGrio.com published an op-ed by Toure entitled “F**k Fourth of July: The only independence day I recognize is Juneteenth.” In it, the author insists that the very reason the colonies sought independence from Britain was because the European country was talking about abolishing slavery. This of course isn’t based on factual evidence, but rather on Toure’s notion that Black America has never had a fair shake. It completely ignores a document called the Declaration of Independence which outlines the actual reason for the split. It reads in part,
“…A decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.” Among the things not mentioned slavery. No reference to it whatsoever.
Social justice warriors will tell you the lack of reference to slavery was a silent endorsement by the new union of states. Again, the facts don’t support that. During the Revolutionary War, the colonies all pledged to ban their involvement in the transatlantic slave trade. Vermont was the first state to abolish slavery, on July 2, 1777. By 1804, slavery had been abolished in all the Northern states. That’s an important detail that the professional victims have conveniently left out.
United States action against slavery didn’t stop there either. Congress first regulated against the trade in the Slave Trade Act of 1794. The 1794 Act ended the legality of American ships participating in the trade.
The Act Prohibiting Importation of Slaves of 1807 is a United States federal law ensuring that no new slaves at all were imported into the United States. It made all importation from abroad, even on foreign ships, a federal crime. It took effect on January 1, 1808, the earliest date permitted by the United States Constitution.
Just as an aside, I should point out to those critical race theory advocates who want the Jefferson Memorial torn down, this legislation was promoted by President Thomas Jefferson, who called for its enactment in his 1806 State of the Union Address. He was among many founding fathers who had promoted the idea since the 1770s.
George Washington served as the first President of the United States from 1789 to 1797. Those dates are important because it was actually three years before that, in 1786 that Washington said the following: “There is not a man living who wishes more sincerely than I do, to see a plan adopted for this abolition of slavery but there is only one proper and effectual mode by which it can be accomplished, and that is by Legislative authority.”
Documents, speeches, and factual history show us that early American leaders like Mr. Washington and Mr. Jefferson spoke out against slavery and the slave trade. They took action, during the Revolutionary War, after the war, and in the formative years of the United States to make meaningful change. It is essential that this documented history not be lost to the irresponsible whims and partial recollections of those who would change our historical narrative.
To hear many of today’s PC historians tell it, America essentially invented slavery. Again, not true. Slavery has been a sad fact of human history as long as there has been history. Speaking specifically to the African slave trade, however, it was the Portuguese that started bringing African slaves to Europe in the 1440s, a full fifty years before Columbus even stumbled upon the Americas.
The bottom line is this: Slavery was an abhorrent practice, one that must never be repeated. Contrary to the fictional account promoted in critical race theory, America was a leader in bringing an end to slavery. Mr. Washington spoke publicly of his opposition. Mr. Jefferson frequently spoke of his opposition, including in a State of the Union speech, and took specific action. Multiple states ended slavery in the formative years of a young America. More than 360,000 Union soldiers died in the civil war, fighting for an end to slavery.
We aren’t perfect. No one makes that claim, but to suggest we are a nation built on slavery isn’t based on fact. To suggest the primary reason we declared independence from Britain was slavery isn’t based on fact. To suggest there has never been liberty or justice for Americans of a particular color isn’t based on fact. To suggest that Black Americans don’t have opportunities in 2021 is just absurd.
Celebrate your freedoms… with facts.
• Tim Constantine is a columnist for The Washington Times and hosts “The Capitol Hill Show” podcast every week from Washington, D.C.