Foreword: Challenging Racism, Challenging History
1 Five centuries earlier, the Norse lived on Newfoundland for two years before
conflict with Native Americans caused them to give up their attempt at perma-
nent settlement. Probably that conflict was prompted by inhumane acts by the
Norse, especially since their word for the Natives was skraelings, a derogatory
term in Norse, but we have little information about exactly what transpired
across this earlier frontier.
2 The Journal of Christopher Columbus, translated by Cecil Jane (New York: Bonanza,
3 Quoted in G. R. Crone, The Discovery of America (New York: Weybright and
Talley, 1960), 182–3.
4 Bartolomé de Las Casas, History of the Indies (New York: Harper and Row, 1971),
5 Las Casas quoted in Kirkpatrick Sale, The Conquest of Paradise (New York: Knopf,
6 Las Casas in this and the following paragraphs quoted in Marcel Bataillon, ‘‘The
Clerigo Casas,’’ in Bartolomé de las Casas in History, ed. Juan Friede and Benjamin
Keen (DeKalb: niu Press, 1971), 415–6.
7 Las Casas, History of the Indies (New York: Harper and Row, 1971), 274–78.
8 J. H. Elliott, The Old World and the New (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,
1970), 48. Oviedo quoted by Las Casas in Ibid., 274. Of course, when Las Casas
wrote, ‘‘peoples’’ and ‘‘men’’ were used as synonyms. Las Casas was not claiming
that people are all one sex or that women cannot reason!
9 Quoted in Thomas Benjamin, ‘‘A Time of Reconquest: History, the Maya Re-
vival, and the Zapatista Rebellion in Chiapas,’’ American Historical Review 4
10 Lewis Nordan quoted in David K. Shipler, A Country of Strangers (New York:
Knopf, 1997), 106–07.
11 Coles and Je√erson quoted in Robert P. Howard, Mostly Good and Competent Men
(Springfield: Sangamon State University, 1988), 21–29.
12 In 1824, local political enemies would convict Coles of violating an Illinois law
requiring that anyone bringing Blacks into the state post bond of $1000 for each.
The legislature, however, pardoned him.