Underground Railroad Research Forum
Re: Piatt of Ohio
In Response To: Re: Piatt of Ohio ()
Actually, this is precisely why documentation is so important. Otherwise, we would be living with skewed histories that only reflect the perspectives and wishes of white male dominated society. If it were not for scholarship and documentation we would be learning that the antebellum south was filled with happy helpful slaves who lived and worked as "servants" in Tara like plantations run by beautiful, dashing, brave, and gallant white men and women who took care of their enslaved people because they were childlike. No thank you. Without great scholarship and evidence, we would still be taught that the UGRR was secret, and it was run almost exclusively by Quakers.
Some members of the Piatt family have questioned this myth. In order for the family to have had their own personal statue of a lawn jockey prior to the Civil War, they would have had to design it, forge it at a foundry, etc. No matter how much you want to believe in the myth, you cannot ignore the counterfactual evidence. Why is it so difficult to imagine that this is a myth, created sometime during the 20th century? What about the incredibly important African American and other white supporters WHO WERE the REAl UGRR operatives in the area who have been long forgotten because of the Piatt myth?
As for Thomas Jefferson, he did not change his views. He always believed in the inferiority of Africans and African Americans. He believed slavery was good for the "civilizing" and "christianizing" of Africans. He recognized that slavery was bad for "white" people becasue, he believed perhaps correctly, that it made them lazy and less productive, and it corrupted and adversely affected the white family. Why didn't he liberate his enslaved people? Because he believed they were incapable of handling freedom and citizenship. That is not a man who changed his views.
Please, let us celebrate the real heroes of the UGRR. No more quilts, lawn jockeys, or tunnels, just the pure blood, sweat, courage, and actions of mostly unknown black and white Americans.
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