By Scotty Reid
Today many families across the USA will be hosting barbecues in observance of Memorial Day but most do not know the history behind this day and the great lie and betrayal of the Union soldiers who gave their lives to end slavery in the United States.
The first Memorial Day was known as Decoration Day and was started by formerly enslaved Africans who dug up a mass grave of Union soldiers in 1865 near Charleston, SC to give them each a proper burial. After the gruesome task was complete, a parade and ceremony was held that included 10,000 participants, mostly Black people. It was their way of saying thank you to those who had given their lives to end the institution of slavery.
Unfortunately, the participants did not realize the great betrayal of those soldiers when President Lincoln and Congress passed the 13th Amendment that would allow the South and other states, to practice a different form of slavery through the mass imprisonment of Black people.
The 13th Amendment to the US Constitution did not end slavery, it legalized it as “punishment for crime”. After the Civil War Black people would be targeted through State laws known at the time as Black Codes and would be sentenced to prison slavery by all white juries. The Black prisoners would then be leased out as cheap labor to various businesses and farms.
Today the United States has the world’s largest prison population on earth where prisoners are forced and coerced to work for literal slave wages if they are paid anything at all. These modern prison slaves work in just about every industry from making uniforms and equipment for the US military, processing meat and fish and doing call center work. In fact, prison slavery was entirely practiced by the States after 1865 but ever since President Reagan and Congress allowed for the privatization of prisons in the 1980s, anyone can get in on and profit from 21st Century Slavery and Human Trafficking which is a multi billion dollar industry.
In light of this information, people should remember every Memorial Day the betrayal of the Union Soldiers who died to end slavery and come to the realization that the work of slavery abolitionists is yet to be completed.