Anti-Masterism Rears Its Ugly Head

by Dithery Caldwell

16 July 2005

America, 1837 --- One of the world's oldest hatreds --- anti-masterism --- has been spied making a reappearance in the slave states, causing masters across the South to fear violence or some kind of uprising.

Last week in South Carolina, crudely lettered fliers were found on a local plantation, declaring that slaves should be free. Tom Thomas, a nervous and obedient black slave, said the flyer was "disgusting." "I don't know who prints this garbage," Thomas said, as he prepared to cook a meal for his master. "These people are filled with irrational hate. I mean, come on, it's 1837. Haven't we gotten past all that 'freedom' stuff?"

Bob Roberts, a white slavemaster and president of the Southern Property Law Center, called the fliers the work of lunatics. "These slaves are just looking for a scapegoat for their problems," Roberts said. "It's so easy to just find someone different, like slavemasters, and blame them for your situation."

Added Roberts, "We've all got to work together."

Roberts said he and his organization tracked the activities of anti-masterist groups, charting them and alerting authorities whenever necessary. "We work hand in hand with law enforcement to make sure that they know what's going on," he said.

But Roberts said it was hard to follow their every move, because they've learned to sing 'spirituals,' which are really just messages to each other about possible escape.


Back to VNN Main Page