Whistle While You Work? What a Fantasy

I would say that today, we have only begun to face America’s past. If I said racist past, that would signify that it was behind us or that it was only racist. Any adjective that comes to mind does not adequately describe the practice of capturing people and putting them in chains to do other’s work. And work they did. America was built with slave labor. Every Black carpenter, cook, metalworker, field hand, you name it, deserves an honorable place in American history. Men, women and children. How did they endure? One of the ways they kept their spirits up was to sing work songs. Railroad workers used steel hammers and kept time with them. Collectively singing helped to get the job done, appropriately pounding and pulling at just the right time. “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad,” was originally sung by slaves building levees along the Mississippi River. It was changed to “railroad” at a later date. Take a trip to New Orleans and view the levee and the beautiful homes along the river. Don’t look at them as what the white plantation owners built. View them with the knowledge that they were built by skilled slaves whose names are not only forgotten but were never written down. Suellen Ocean is the author of the Civil War Era Historic Romance, Black Pansy.

Available Here: http://www.amazon.com/Black-Pansy-Suellen-Ocean/dp/1484900278

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History… What Were Fugitive Slave Laws? Sanctuary Cities?

America’s history of dealing in human cargo dates to its early years as an emerging colonial empire. Our first president, George Washington owned slaves but today it’s hard for us to understand how anyone could force another person into slavery. There is absolutely no defense of it. None.

The first fugitive slave law was passed in 1793. It was enacted to solve the problem of slaves escaping to states that prohibited slavery. The “owner” of the slave need only apply to the authorities for a warrant to have his “property” returned.

The institution of slavery was appalling to the northern states so they enacted local laws that prohibited state officials from assist in the capturing of runaways. This was very much like today’s sanctuary cities for illegal aliens.

By 1850, due to pressure from slave states, a new law demanded federal officials enforce the law. In 1861, the Civil War broke out. The rest is history and it’s not pretty.

Suellen Ocean is the author of the series, Civil War Era Romances. Available here:

Book One, Black Pansy: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1484900278

Book Two, Blue Violet: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B018ZWX0R4

Book Three, Black Lilac: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01EKJMTKA

Book Four, Ellie: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LWVNCTS

Book Five, Rose Thorn: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06X1GN58T

Book Six, Mississippi Wild Blue: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072L2WWMR

Book Seven, Dandelion Lane: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073WPHMWG

 

Slavery… What Was the Freedmen’s Bureau?

When the Civil War ended in 1865, the United States government created a department whose main concern was to look after the well-being of former slaves. Whether it was naive or ignorant, it was thought that one year would be enough to attend to the freedman’s needs. It wasn’t. There were tens of thousands of freed slaves who had been kept against their will, unable to learn how to read or write and unable to navigate the treacherous waters of freedom, especially considering the bitter prejudice that existed in the south.

The aim of the Freedman’s Bureau was to provide for the maintenance and education of freed slaves and monitor their conditions of employment and administer justice. It was a corrupt, dysfunctional mess. That’s what happens when those in charge use a government bureau for their own political motives. The power of the Freedmen’s Bureau must have been vast. Besides the above-mentioned duties, the bureau controlled land that had been confiscated during the war. In 1872, the bureau disbanded but not until after it did a lot of damage. In the end, it had the reputation of doing “more harm than good.”

Suellen Ocean is the author of the series, Civil War Era Romances. Available here:

Book One, Black Pansy: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1484900278

Throw it on Your Back, Your Bed and Your Floor but Don’t Forget Where it Came From

President Donald Trump has brought a lot of attention to the Civil War this week. Making scholars remind us of the truth about that war, maybe even confusing us. History buffs will let you know that the Civil War wasn’t all about freeing slaves. It was also about preserving the Union. Ouch. That hurts.

Dividing the United States of America was unthinkable to the North. America’s economy was in crisis. At the beginning of the Civil War, the price of cotton started to increase, obviously because the north was shut off from the south but in 1865, when Robert E. Lee surrendered, the price dropped.

Fortunes were made on the backs of slaves who labored in the sun-drenched cotton fields. People died out in those hot fields. And today, we forget all about that. We take our cotton for granted. We throw it on our beds, onto our backs, onto our floors and into our mattresses. We dry off with it and lay on top of it at the beach. We make balls of it to swab our skin and make strips of it to use as bandages and slings. Tents, tarps, you name it, we’ve made it from cotton. How many of us think of the history behind cotton? It’s hard to understand all the politics surrounding the Civil War but the next time you put your hands on cotton, think of all the history behind it. And be grateful that it is behind us.

Suellen Ocean is the author of the series, Civil War Era Romances. Available here:

Book One, Black Pansy: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1484900278

Book Two, Blue Violet: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B018ZWX0R4

Book Three, Black Lilac: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01EKJMTKA

Book Four, Ellie: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LWVNCTS

Book Five, Rose Thorn: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06X1GN58T

Book Six, Mississippi Wild Blue: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072L2WWMR

Civil War Soldier… His Wife Was Fifty Years Younger

The Civil War ended in April 1865 and the last Civil War veterans died in the 1950’s. But according to a story last August in the “U.S. News & World Report,” by Curt Mills, the United States was still paying a veteran’s pension to the daughter of Mose Triplett, a soldier who started as a Confederate Rebel and defected to the North and became a Yankee. When Mose died in 1938, the pension he was receiving went to his daughter Irene. If you’re counting the years since the Civil War ended and thinking… that’s not possible, let me give you a hint. His second wife was fifty-years younger. Mose was eighty-three when his daughter Irene was born. He was an elderly father, he had his last child, a son, at eighty-seven. He must have been a hearty man, he made it to the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg.

Suellen Ocean is the author of the series, Civil War Era Romances. Available here:

Book One, Black Pansy: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1484900278

Book Two, Blue Violet: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B018ZWX0R4

Book Three, Black Lilac: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01EKJMTKA

Book Four, Ellie: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LWVNCTS

Book Five, Rose Thorn: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06X1GN58T

Civil War History… America’s Rotten Wooden Ships

Black PansyI grew up in the post-World War II era. In the San Francisco Bay Area, there was a large docked fleet of steel ships. They called it the moth ball fleet. I think it’s still there. There have been suggestions about what to do with it, but to my knowledge, those ships are still docked.Canva Blue Violet Cover

Just like during World War II, during the Civil War, America had plenty of ships. It was quite an armada but after that bloody war and all those lives lost, Americans longed for peace and ignored our Navy. The thinking was that no other country would invade the United States, so the flotilla rotted away. Thankfully, Americans came to their senses and every few years, Congress allocated funds for more ships.

New Cover Black LilacAs much as we hate war, it’s a necessity to protect our country. But it is heartening to me to understand that Americans were so sick of war that instead of fighting, they were rebuilding America.

Suellen Ocean is the author of the series, Civil War Era Romances. Available here:

Book One, Black Pansy: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1484900278

Book Two, Blue Violet: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B018ZWX0R4

Book Three, Black Lilac: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01EKJMTKA

The University of Church

Black PansyTimes have changed for Black America when before the Civil War, it was illegal in many states to learn to read and write. While most of White America did not attend college, it was an opportunity if the family had means. It was however, a big challenge for Blacks. So after the war, when slavery was abolished and they were given more freedom to live as they choose, the church was an option and many Black families attended. Within these churches, they learned to read and write through studying the Bible. Canva Blue Violet CoverAnd since the “good book” was also a history book, a book of laws, a cultural journal and a vast literary work of proverbs, prophesy and poetry, becoming a scholar became an option for religious Blacks. The evolution of the church brought us great leaders like Martin Luther King and gospel singers like Mahalia Jackson and of course a rich music legacy of soul, rhythm and blues, funk, rap and good ‘ol rock ‘n ‘roll.New Cover Black Lilac

Suellen Ocean is the author of the series, Civil War Era Romances. Available here:

Book One, Black Pansy: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1484900278

Book Two, Blue Violet: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B018ZWX0R4

Book Three, Black Lilac: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01EKJMTKA