Many Americans winced when they heard Democratic presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand use the expression, “sold down the river” during the second night of the Democratic Debate.
Why? Well, the phrase “sold down the river” is a reference to selling Black Americans during slavery.
Selling someone down the river was a term used referring to selling Black people down the Mississippi or Ohio rivers. Slave masters would threaten disobedient slaves by splitting them up from their families and selling them down the river to the often much harsher conditions of the deep south where they were likely to be worked to death.
In an article about the phrase, NPR cites the Oxford English Dictionary which notes Harriet C. Frazier’s 2001 study “Slavery and Crime in Missouri, 1773-1865” which contains a firsthand account from a journal by Mr. Aaron S. Fry, who witnessed the suicide of a slave who so scared about being sold down the river by his master that he took his own life:
“A Negro man of Mr. Elies, having been sold to go down the river, attempted first to cut off both of his legs, failing to do that, cut his throat, did not entirely take his life, went a short distance and drowned himself.”
Zetas2 days ago
Zeta Phi Beta Members From Across the Country Open Up About Why They Joined Their Sorority
AKAs3 days ago
Leadership Highlight: Ronicsa Chambers the Basileus of Alpha Kappa Alpha in Baltimore County, MD
Sigmas1 week ago
Joe Biden Just Tweeted This Video Message to the Brothers of Phi Beta Sigma
Kappas3 days ago
Leadership Highlight: Shawn Smith the Polemarch of the Dallas Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi
Life7 days ago
According to the Data Here Are the Best Cities for Black Women to Live
Zetas3 days ago
Leadership Highlight: Tara Lockett the Basileus of Zeta Phi Beta in East Point, Georgia
Zetas3 days ago
Leadership Highlight: Andrea Wright the Basileus of Zeta Phi Beta in Brooklyn, NY
History2 days ago
Notable Members of Kappa Alpha Psi in Business