Put marker in perspective

I am writing in regard to the removal of the William Makepeace Thackeray historical marker on Broad Street, which contained the quote: “Slavery no where repulsive, the black faces invariably happy and plump … .” It was removed in response to a complaint by a concerned citizen.

I assume the complainant believes Thackery was excusing slavery since the slaves he found here were physically and mentally healthy. But I interpret the quote to have a nearly opposite meaning.

First, “not repulsive” is hardly a ringing endorsement. Try this: “Will you take my cousin out on a date?” “What’s she like?” “Well, she’s not repulsive.”

More importantly, I infer he was surprised by the health of the slaves he met in Augusta. This means in all other places he had met slaves, they were not healthy and he was repulsed. He actually was condemning slavery with this “compliment” to Augusta.

David Brock



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