Citing cherry-picked facts from the U.S. census, a Cobb County, Ga. woman tried her darnedest to argue that African-American slavery “wasn’t so bad.”
The incident unfolded at a June 12 meeting of the Cobb County Commission after resident Mary Stevens took to the podium to defend keeping Confederate Gen. Joseph Johnston’s name on a local park amid efforts to rename it. According to local station 11Alive, Stevens argued that stripping Johnston’s name from the park would be “historically inaccurate.”
The East Cobb woman went on to argue the “Civil War wasn’t about slavery” and passed around a census handout showing an uptick in free Blacks in the South from 1790-1860. She also noted that Blacks “performed” for the Confederacy as “cooks and laborers” or in other capacities.
“And you see … every decade, there is an increase in free Africans in the South as opposed to in the North,” she said, addressing the commission. “… So had slavery been so bad for the freed slaves, they would have left the South.”
Her argument didn’t end there, however. Stevens claimed that every race throughout history has been enslaved at some point.
“Every race and culture … has either had slaves or been slaves at one time or another,” she stated, citing a quote from Black conservative economist Thomas Sowell.
Afterwards, Commissioner Lisa Cupid, who is African-American, didn’t hesitate to fact-check Stevens’ claims, which she described as offensive.
“I was deeply offended by some of the statements that were made this morning by the previous speaker,” Cupid said. “I’m not here to refute the fact that there may have been slaves other than persons who were African-American, but there’s numerous documentation and historical evidence that [the] chattel slavery that Blacks were subject to in America was not comparable to that of any other race.”
The county’s action on renaming the park “Mableton’s Chattahoochee River Line” has been tabled for now.
Watch more in the video above.