A ESSAY BY PROFESSOR MICHAEL FULLER, St. Louis Community College
written 20 April 2001
Response to the boycott of Chip Clatto's lecture at the Missouri Historical
Society by virtually all the "White" professional Historians and Archaeologists
in St. Louis.
Yes, the amateur historians attended and the African American community
came to hear the truth. There was a good crowd but the absence of so
many "experts" simply indicated that they had already come to a verdict
about the Lemp Avenue Archaeological site.
Where were the Missouri Historical Society experts (pronounced Mo'Hiss),
UMSL experts (pronounced Uggh'zil), National Park Service historians,
Missouri Park Service historians, and City Historic Preservation experts?
Too busy that evening or uninterested in listening to the REAL EVIDENCE.
Many are paid good salaries to research and interpret/misinterpret slavery
to the public!
I am not surprised that they forgot/boycotted Chip's lecture because
what Chip has uncovered is very politically incorrect. That is the danger
of original research! It can upset beautiful lies. The irony is that
Chip Clatto, an African American teacher and scholar, trusted the oral
tradition and found the "Ground Truth."
Schools and museums love to tell the beautiful lie about slavery in
Missouri. I heard the beautify lie for the first time in 1970. My sophmore year public
school teacher at Glendale High School in Springfield, MO taught the
beautiful lie about slavery. The teacher was descended from a
slave owning family and she made sure that all of her students (White
because it was a segregated school) knew that the American Civil War
was not related to the issue of slavery because the Southerners treated
the NEE'GRAS (a polite way to say another word) with great kindness.
The beautiful lie is still taught because class after class of college
students are willing to repeat the lie when I ask for it.
My High School history teacher was angry that some history books suggested that slaves
were beaten and raped by the owners. Her family treated their slaves
like members of the immediate family. Her mother always spoke in hushed
tones about how gently the slave women had raised the white children.
Of course the slave mammies were loving to those children because one
complaint from the children or Mistress would result in slave children
being sold to the merciless plantations in Mississippi that were dreaded
by any slave in Missouri. A second complaint would require a whipping
and rape. A third complaint would require the enslaved woman be sold
"down river" or at least to a plantation where a cruel master could
My High School history teacher taught her students that the Underground Railroad was a
horrible lie made up by the evil Yankee carpetbaggers as a way of justifying
their abuse of the good Southern families. I remember repeating these
stories to another High School history teacher, Mr. Bill Wetzel, and watching
his face burn red with anger. He did something very courageous. He started
to teach his students about Sojourner Truth, Frederick Douglass, and
Uncle Tom's Cabin. Mr. Wetzel actually got foolhardy and questioned
the validity of the American military intervention in the Vietnam War.
He was beaten up in the high school parking lot by some of the patriotic
Dads. He probably never thought that any of the students heard his message.
Why was the Lemp Avenue Archaeological site bulldozed on the direct
order of the government officials from the City of St. Louis with approval
at the State level? Why is the site ignored by the National Park Service
even though they are supposed to be documenting and protecting sites
exactly like this? Because.... WHITE PEOPLE DON'T LIKE TO HEAR ABOUT
SLAVE AUCTION BLOCKS, WHIPPING POSTS, RAPED TEENAGE SLAVE GIRLS, SLAVE
PROSTITUTES AND OTHER UNPOPULAR STORIES. White people want to see Shirley
Temple stepping and dancing with the old Black Uncle.
Do you think that I am lying? I bring these issues up when I teach Sociology
101 at St. Louis Community College. I bring these issues up when I teach
World Religions (PHL 103) at St. Louis Community College. African American
students can't believe I will talk about the issue of slavery and some
White students have been angered by my portrayal of the inhuman, degrading
condition that White slaverowners forced upon the enslaved Africans.
Want some unpleasant evidence?
Go to the slave census of 1860 in St. Louis county and look at all the
mulatto slaves. Each slave listed as a mulatto, born in St. Louis,
had a raped enslaved African mother and a White Rapist Father.
Think that I am exaggerating? Read this book:
McLaurin, Melton A.
1991 Celia, a slave. University of George Press, Athens.
Celia was 14 years old when she was purchased by John Newsom, a slaveowner
in Callaway County, Missouri (not far from St. Louis). He raped her on the
ride from the auction to his farm. He raped her day after day for 5
years. She gave birth to 2 slave children for him. He was old enough
to be her grandfather. He was a sadist.
We know the story of Celia because she murdered her Master/Rapist after
5 years of sexual slavery. She was found guilty and hanged in Calloway
County, MO. Her story is known because she did something unthinkable
- she killed her Master. We don't have Civil War images that show the
sexually abused slave women. All we have are the images of the whipped
men. Can you imagine why? The freed slaves wanted to leave behind the
traumas of slavery. Some went into denial. They all knew that talking
or writing about these conditions would only get them punished/killed
by the white supremist groups. Bet you are sorry you read this essay.
It is untrue. One of my high school teachers would tell you it was untrue.
Oh, by the way... Don't
look at the pictures below...
Look at the enslaved Africans, especially Gordon...
Broadside from Library of Congress
Sojourner Truth image from Library of Congress Prints and Photographs
Frederick Douglass chronology
Table of contents from Abolitionist writings