News Release

* Houston * Confederacy

NBC News reports: “Crosby, Texas, Chemical Plant Explodes Twice, Arkema Group Says.” Esquire reports: “We’re Nowhere Near Prepared for the Ecological Disaster That Harvey Is Becoming.”

ROBERT BUZZANCO, Buzzanco at yahoo.com
Buzzanco is professor of history at the University of Houston. See the recent interview with him on Vimeo. He gives a breakdown of the current situation and the relevant history in Houston, including the 2001 tropical storm Allison, which deluged Houston and caused over 20 deaths. After that storm, Buzzanco notes there was widespread discussion of Houston following a different development model, only to pave over more green space. See from the Texas Tribune and ProPublica “Boomtown, Flood Town,” which notes: “unchecked development remains a priority in the famously un-zoned city, creating short-term economic gains for some while increasing flood risks for everyone.”

Buzzanco also gives a breakdown of the political players in Houston and Texas and gives background about more recent flooding. He breaks down what’s happening in different parts of the city now — his current house has been bone dry while his old house is reportedly half under water.

BRUCE DIXON, bruce.dixon at blackagendareport.com, @brucedixon
Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report. He just wrote the piece “The Missing Black History At Some Civil War Memorials,” which notes that: “I do suppose those four or five thousand Confederate soldiers who died in Chicago deserve a memorial. Certainly they deserve it a lot more than the slaveholding southern generals and politicians they were dumb enough to fight for. For ordinary white people, white supremacy is always stupid like that. The Confederate army was a draftee army, but any white man who owned 20 or more slaves was exempt from the draft. For them it was a rich man’s war, but a poor man’s fight.

“They died because by 1863 the federal armies began fielding regiments of black troops. By war’s end there were more than 200,000 black soldiers in the Union Army, most of them former slaves. The Confederates refused to treat captured black soldiers as prisoners of war. Captured black soldiers were murdered on the spot, or sold into slavery. White officers and noncoms leading black troops were supposed to be tried and summarily executed for leading slave insurrection, a capital offense, so they also took pains not to be captured alive.

“The federal government demanded that captured black soldiers be treated as prisoners of war. The Confederates refused. The north stopped exchanging prisoners, and the numbers of captured prisoners of war mounted up into the hundreds of thousands. The South could barely feed its civilians and soldiers, let alone its prisoners, and the north simply would not. The 56,000 Civil War prisoners who perished at Andersonville, at Elmira, at Camp Douglas and elsewhere died because the South preferred to murder captured black soldiers or sell them into slavery.”