By Michael Hirsh
July 3, 2020
William Darity, a Duke University economist and scholar who is one of the nation’s leading authorities on the economic impact of slavery and the continuing problem of income inequality for African Americans, believes that there were “a number of roads when the wrong path was taken” going back to the beginning of the republic. At the same time, he said in an interview, it’s nearly impossible to imagine that all 13 colonies would have joined in the revolution had slavery been made an issue. “The most resistant would have been South Carolina,” said Darity, who recently co-wrote the book From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the Twenty-First Century.
Cornell’s Baptist agrees that states in the Deep South like South Carolina and Georgia were quite dug in, even if some in Virginia were wavering on the issue. “I would point out that the most pro-slavery elements in the Constitutional Convention and in the ratification process frequently got what they wanted,” Baptist said. “The South Carolinians came to Philadelphia determined to get lots of things, including the fugitive slave clause, in the Constitution, and they did.”