African American History Culture : Slavery in the US: Here are seven things you probably didn't know - were connected to slavery

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Alonewolf
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Jul 2, 2003
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As protesters across the United States continue calling for an end to police brutality and racial injustice, organizations are coming to terms with their racist histories.

Throughout the South, monuments and flags celebrating the Confederacy are being taken down.

Companies like Mars and Quaker Oats are planning to change or retire racist brand characters like Uncle Ben and Aunt Jemima.
And popular music groups such as Lady Antebellum and The Dixie Chicks -- now Lady A and The Chicks -- have changed their names.

But in a country where enslaved Black people were so essential in its rise to global power, it's impossible to stamp out every link to its painful history.
Slavery has marked everything from the US Capitol to the alcohol Americans consume.

Here are seven institutions that many people may not know are linked to slavery:

New York Life Insurance Company
One of the largest life insurance companies in the US has admitted that their predecessor company insured the lives of enslaved people for their owners.
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Yale University
Yale University is named after Elihu Yale, a former slave trader.
Many US universities also have ties to slavery. Harvard and Princeton had presidents who owned enslaved people. At public universities like the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Virginia, enslaved people worked on campus or helped build campuses. Some schools, like Georgetown University, sold enslaved people to pay off debts and keep the school running.
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CSX Transportation

CSX Transportation owns a railroad that was built by enslaved people.
The Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac Railroad in Virginia -- acquired by CSX in 2003 -- owned and hired enslaved Black people from 1834, when it was chartered, until the end of the Civil War in 1865, according to The Virginia Museum of History and Culture.
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Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey

That's right, even alcohol is connected to slavery.
Though Jack Daniel never owned enslaved people, he did learn to make whiskey in Tennessee from an enslaved person named Nathan "Nearest" Green, who was owned by a Lutheran minister, according to the company.
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Wall Street
From selling Slaves to Selling another Commodity


Wall Street orignated as a slave market in the 1700s.
Before Wall Street became the world's largest stock exchange, the location thrived as a slave market between 1711 and 1762, according to JSTOR Daily, a digital library.

In 2015, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio commemorated a marker to the enslaved people who laid the foundation for Wall Street.
"This place reminds of us of one of the worst chapters in our history," de Blasio said at the time. "Three-hundred-four years ago, with the approval of the city government, this became a place for buying and selling and renting human beings."
People are again talking about slavery reparations. But it's a complex and thorny issue
People are again talking about slavery reparations. But it's a complex and thorny issue

New York City's first lady, Chirlane McCray, said slavery built the foundation of the city and its slave market was rivaled only by the market in Charleston, South Carolina.


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The White House and US Capitol Building

Former First Lady Michelle Obama caused a stir in 2016 when she said enslaved people built the White House. She wasn't wrong.
Construction on the original White House began in 1792.
Officials planned to import European workers to help build the structure, but recruitment didn't go as planned so they turned to Black people, free and enslaved, according to the White House Historical Association.
The US Capitol building was also constructed with the labor of enslaved people.
The building's construction started in 1793.
Like with the White House, officials struggled to find skilled labor so they turned to enslaved people, who were often rented from owners.

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George Washington

The first president's mouth, Coe said, was full of the teeth of walruses, hippopotamuses and enslaved people.
Washington paid the enslaved people an under-market rate for their teeth, Coe said.
Coe said Washington also signed the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793, which allowed enslavers to arrest fugitive enslaved people and reclaim them as property.
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Minnesota's constitution still allows slavery as a punishment for crimes. Now lawmakers are trying to change that
 

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