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Slavery Wasn't Really That Bad for Some Slaves, Says Fox News' O'Reilly

In his need to correct First Lady Michelle Obama, Bill O'Reilly said some slaves "were well-fed and had decent lodgings."

Fox News Host Bill O'Reilly

According to Fox News host Bill O'Reilly, slavery wasn't really that bad for some slaves, particularly those involved in building the White House, who "were well-fed and had decent lodgings."


O'Reilly's comments Tuesday were his attempt to correct First Lady Michelle Obama, who during her address at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia Monday night reflected on the fact that she and her family "wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves."

In his need to fact-check the first lady, O'Reilly on his show said that while "slaves did participate in the construction of the White House … free Blacks, whites and immigrants also worked on the massive building. There were no illegal immigrants at that time. If you could make it here, you could stay here."

O'Reilly went on to add that the "slaves that worked there were well-fed and had decent lodgings provided by the government, which stopped hiring slave labor in 1802. However, the feds did not forbid subcontractors from using slave labor. So, Michelle Obama is essentially correct in citing slaves as builders of the White House, but there were others working as well."

O'Reilly's apparent defense of the use of slave labor drew immediate backlash on social media and fed a long-held narrative that slavery was not as widespread and not as bad as it has been portrayed.

"If slavery was so great how come white people didn't want to sign up?" asked comedian and radio host DL Hughley.

Film producer Sam Levine tweeted "How dare @oreillyfactor defend the practice of slavery?! He should be fired and/or resign for saying something so ignorant."

The narrative to portray slavery in a better light has been pushed by the likes of Sen. John C. Calhoun of South Carolina. Noted for his strong defense of slavery, Calhoun described slavery as "a positive good" during a speech in 1837, saying slaves are better off than many, since they are "in the midst of his family and friends, under the kind superintending care of his master and mistress, [compared] with the forlorn and wretched condition of the pauper in the poorhouse."

Sen. James Henry Hammond, also from South Carolina, explained in a speech to northerners two decades later, "The difference between us is, that our slaves are hired for life and well compensated; there is no starvation, no begging, no want of employment among our people, and not too much employment either. Yours are hired by the day, not cared for, and scantily compensated, which may be proved in the most painful manner, at any hour in any street in any of your large towns. Why, you meet more beggars in one day, in any single street of the city of New York, than you would meet in a lifetime in the whole South."

And, Hammond made the argument that whites were actually doing Blacks a favor by making them slaves.

"We do not think that whites should be slaves either by law or necessity. Our slaves are Black, of another and inferior race. The status in which we have placed them is an elevation. They are elevated from the condition in which God first created them, by being made our slaves. None of that race on the whole face of the globe can be compared with the slaves of the South. They are happy, content, uninspiring, and utterly incapable, from intellectual weakness, ever to give us any trouble by their aspirations."

And with regard to O'Reilly's statement that slaves that worked in the White House "were well-fed and had decent lodgings," in fact the opposite was true, according to First Lady Abigail Adams, who was actually there as the first family to occupy the White House in 1800 while construction was still going on.

In her writings, she remarked: "The effects of Slavery are visible every where; and I have amused myself from day to day in looking at the labour of 12 negroes from my window.

Two of our hardy N England men would do as much work in a day as the whole 12, but it is true Republicanism that drive the Slaves half fed, and destitute of cloathing, ... to labour, whilst the owner waches about Idle, tho his one Slave is all the property he can boast."

Virginia Gov. Northam's 'Misconception' of Indentured Servitude and Slavery

The interaction between Gayle King and Ralph Northam should have led to a bigger discussion.

Governor Northam- Virginia

In an interview with CBS anchor Gayle King, which aired on Sunday, Virginia State Gov. Ralph Northam referred to enslaved Africans as "indentured servants."

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UPDATE: Trump Makes Unannounced Trip to Iraq Amid Criticism for Not Visiting Troops at Christmastime

The Trumps arrived in Iraq on Wednesday, following a "secret overnight flight."

REUTERS

UPDATE: Dec. 26, 2018 at 4:08 p.m.

In a visit that came hours after NBC News reported that President Trump was the first president since 2002 that did not visit wounded warriors or troops during Christmastime, Trump and First Lady Melania Trump met with troops stationed in Iraq, traveling there "late Christmas night," White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweeted Wednesday afternoon.

The Trumps arrived in Iraq on Wednesday, following a "secret overnight flight."

"Trump left behind a slate of troubles in Washington, including a partial government shutdown and an unsteady economy," according to CNN. "He's also faced criticism for a series of foreign policy decisions that have left his national security team at odds."

This makes Trump's first trip to visit U.S. troops in a combat zone, after much criticism.

According to The Washington Post, the head of one of two main blocs in Iraq's Parliament, Sabah al-Saidi, "is denouncing Trump's unannounced visit, calling it a 'blatant violation of Iraq's sovereignty'." Al-Saidi is calling for an emergency session of Parliament to discuss his visit.

He said Trump should not be allowed to arrive "as if Iraq is a state of the United States" as "the American occupation of Iraq is over."

White House press secretary Sanders said Trump couldn't meet with the Iraqi prime minister because of the short notice of the president's trip and security concerns.

ORIGINAL STORY: Trump Skips Traditional Visit With Troops at Christmastime

President Donald Trump, who made history as the first reality TV president and the first president to use Twitter to fire and hire White House staff, has now become the first president since 2002 that did not visit military personnel around Christmastime.

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Bully Tells Black Students They Would Be Sold Into Slavery

Parents are outraged after the bully was allowed back into the Christian school after a short suspension.

"He said he would sell me into slavery, if I didn't do what he said, and then he started making little jingles about slavery," said LaShanti Duncan.

That's the type of harassment Duncan and Imani Wortham said that they had to endure each day in school from a bully at Horizon Christian High School in Indiana. They said a male student bullied them because of the color of their skin.

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Michelle Obama Speaks Candidly to Black Male College Students: Video

Obama gives students advice on how to respond when someone questions if they belong.

Former First Lady Michelle Obama visited Motown Museum in Detroit and spoke with Black male students from Wayne State University, many of whom are the first in their family to attend college. Obama's message of encouragement is poignant in a time when the viewpoint of Black males in this country is so negatively skewed.

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Oklahoma State Senator Says Slavery Was Challenged, So Legal Abortion Should Be, Too

Joseph Silk wants a bill that criminalizes abortion to challenge the Supreme Court decision because the Court once ruled "that slaves were private property and they were wrong."

State Sen. Joseph Silk (R-Broken Bow) is pushing his "Abolition of Abortion in Oklahoma Act," which calls on the state to ignore federal law on abortion. And he's using the argument that states can ignore the Supreme Court because "they were wrong about slavery."

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Michelle Obama Won't Be 'Leaning In' Anytime Soon

The former first lady keeps it real on her book tour.

TWITTER

Former First Lady Michelle Obama kept it all the way real on the latest stop of her successful "Becoming" book tour at Brooklyn's Barclays Center on Saturday. In a moment of full disclosure, Obama expressed the difficulties of "having it all."

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