15 Major Corporations You Never Knew Profited from Slavery

The enslavement of African people in the Americas by the nations and peoples of Western Europe, created the economic engine that funded modern capitalism. Therefore it comes as no surprise that most of the major corporations that were founded by Western European and American merchants prior to roughly 100 years ago, benefited directly from slavery.

Lehman Brothers, whose business empire started in the slave trade, recently admitted their part in the business of slavery.

According to the Sun Times, the now-defunct financial services firm acknowledged that its founding partners owned not one, but several enslaved Africans during the Civil War era and that, “in all likelihood,” it “profited significantly” from slavery.

“This is a sad part of our heritage …We’re deeply apologetic … It was a terrible thing … There’s no one sitting in the United States in the year 2005, hopefully, who would ever, in a million years, defend the practice,” said Joe Polizzotto, general counsel of Lehman Brothers.

Aetna, Inc., the United States’ largest health insurer, apologized for selling policies in the 1850s that reimbursed slave owners for financial losses when the enslaved Africans they owned died.

“Aetna has long acknowledged that for several years shortly after its founding in 1853 that the company may have insured the lives of slaves,” said Aetna spokesman Fred Laberge in 2002. “We express our deep regret over any participation at all in this deplorable practice.”

JPMorgan Chase admitted their company’s links to slavery.

“Today, we are reporting that this research found that, between 1831 and 1865, two of our predecessor banks — Citizens Bank and Canal Bank in Louisiana — accepted approximately 13,000 enslaved individuals as collateral on loans and took ownership of approximately 1,250 of them when the plantation owners defaulted on the loans,” the company wrote in a statement.

New York Life Insurance Company is the largest mutual life insurance company in the United States. They also took part in slavery by selling insurance policies on enslaved Africans.

According to USA Today, evidence of 10 more New York Life slave policies comes from an 1847 account book kept by the company’s Natchez, Miss., agent, W.A. Britton. The book, part of a collection at Louisiana State University, contains Britton’s notes on slave policies he wrote for amounts ranging from $375 to $600. A 1906 history of New York Life says 339 of the company’s first 1,000 policies were written on the lives of slaves.

USA Today reported that Wachovia Corporation (now owned by Wells Fargo) has apologized for its ties to slavery after disclosing that two of its historical predecessors owned enslaved Africans and accepted them as payment.

“On behalf of Wachovia Corporation, I apologize to all Americans, and especially to African-Americans and people of African descent,” said Ken Thompson, Wachovia chairman and chief executive officer, in the statement. “We are deeply saddened by these findings.”

N M Rothschild & Sons Bank in London was linked to slavery. The company that was one of the biggest names in the City of London had previously undisclosed links to slavery in the British colonies. Documents seen by the Financial Times have revealed that Nathan Mayer Rothschild, the banking family’s 19th-century patriarch, made personal gains by using enslaved Africans as collateral in dealings with a slave owner.

Norfolk Southern also has a history in the slave trade. The Mobile & Girard company, which is now part of Norfolk Southern, offered slaveholders $180 ($3,379 today) apiece for enslaved Africans they would rent to the railroad for one year, according to the records. The Central of Georgia, another company aligned with Norfolk Southern line today, valued its slaves at $31,303 ($663,033 today) on record.

USA Today has found that their own parent company, E.W. Scripps and Gannett, has had links to the slave trade.

According to reports, FleetBoston evolved from an earlier financial institution, Providence Bank, founded by a John Brown, who was a slave trader and owned ships used to transport enslaved Africans.

The bank financed Brown’s slave voyages and profited from them. Brown even reportedly helped charter what became Brown University.

CSX used slave labor to construct portions of some U.S. rail lines under the political and legal system that was in place more than a century ago.

Two enslaved Africans whom the company rented were identified as John Henry and Reuben. The record states, “they were to be returned clothed when they arrived to work for the company.”

Individual enslaved Africans cost up to $200 — the equivalent of $3,800 today — to rent for a season and CSX took full advantage.

The Canadian National Railway Company is a Canadian Class I railway headquartered in Montreal, Quebec that serves Canada and the Midwestern and Southern United States. The company also has a history in which it benefited from slavery. The Mobile & Ohio, now part of Canadian National, valued their slaves lost to the war and emancipation at $199,691 on record. That amount is currently worth $2.2 million.

Brown Brothers Harriman is the oldest and largest private investment bank and securities firm in the United States, founded in 1818. USA Todayfound that the New York merchant bank of James and William Brown, currently known as Brown Bros. Harriman owned hundreds of enslaved Africans and financed the cotton economy by lending millions to southern planters, merchants and cotton brokers.

Brooks Brothers, the high-end suit retailer, got their start selling slave clothing to various slave traders back in the 1800s. What a way to get rich in the immoral slave industry!

Barclays, the British multinational banking and financial services company headquartered in London has now conceded that companies it bought over the years may have been involved in the slave trade.

USA Today reported that New York-based AIG completed the purchase of American General Financial Group, a Houston-based insurer that owns U.S. Life Insurance Company. A U.S. Life policy on an enslaved African living in Kentucky was reprinted in a 1935 article about slave insurance in The American Conservationistmagazine.

AIG says it has “found documentation indicating” U.S. Life insured enslaved Africans.

Antifa: Trained by terrorist PKK in Syria, may end up outlawed in the US

© George Frey/Getty ANTIFA protesters demonstrate on the University of Utah campus against an event where right wing writer and commentator Ben Shapiro is speaking on September 27, 2017 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

US President Trump aims to declare Antifa as a domestic terrorist organisation. But the group has been in Syria since 2014 and its violent record well documented after a series of controversial decisions taken by the Obama administration in 2015.

US President Donald Trump said on Sunday that he’d be designating Antifa as a terrorist organisation in wake of the violent protests that have swept many American cities. 

Trump and the US Attorney General William Barr have blamed Antifa members for hijacking peaceful protests, which started after a black man, George Floyd, was killed by a white policeman in Minneapolis. 

Washington has already put the Federal Investigation Agency in multiple cities on the job to track down the group’s members. 

“The violence instigated and carried out by antifa and other similar groups in connection with the rioting is domestic terrorism and will be treated accordingly,” Barr said in a statement.

This isn’t the first time that Trump has called out Antifa or Anti Fascists, a secretive movement that has come to the fore in the US recent years after its black-clad members turned violent during protests. 

Antifa traces its origins to the anti-Nazi movement in the 1940s. It was mostly dormant for many years until Trump’s election and rise of the ‘alt-right’. 

Last year, Trump made a similar call to designate the group a terrorist organisation. 

Trump’s decision to declare the group a terror organisation can be difficult to implement as Antifa doesn’t have a central leadership or even a coherent ideology, a US-based security analyst told TRT World. 

But it shouldn’t come as a surprise if US authorities find a link between Antifa and violent attacks during recent years. 

For years there have been concerns that some Antifa members have joined the YPG, the Syrian affiliate of the PKK terror group, in Syria, where they received armed training under the watch of Obama administration.

Since 2014, hundreds of foreigners have travelled to northern Syria to join the ranks of the Marxist-Leninist YPG, which has relied on savvy PR machinery, utilising social media to find recruits. 

While the YPG has been endlessly eulogised in the Western media as American allies who fiercely fought Daesh terrorists, little is discussed of the group’s ideology, which doesn’t tolerate dissent or difference of opinion. 

Behind the glorified images of YPG’s female terrorists are many men who once made up the cadres of the PKK, a terrorist group that has waged a decades-long teror campaign against the Turkish state.

The PKK is responsible for more than 40,000 deaths. Besides killing soldiers, it has bombed shopping malls, killed politicians and executed hundreds of Kurdish-speaking villagers who didn’t abide by the terror group’s radical views. 

Its jailed chief Abdullah Ocalan has evolved from being a Marxist-Leninist to someone who now adheres to what is called democratic confederalism with a dose of anarchism. 

But the dark PKK-YPG history wasn’t a concern for young Americans and Europeans who joined its rank and file, for they were sold the idea of fighting bearded and brutal Daesh terrorists, a symbolic manifestation of evil.  

The westerners who joined the YPG were an odd group. They were leftists, anarchists, feminists and ecology buffs. They were ex-marines, former drug addicts, misfits, adrenaline junkies or just young people sucked up in the conflicting battles of Syria. 

Many of these volunteers travelled to Syria from American cities without any hindrance under the watch of Obama administration. Upon their return, they were hardly ever investigated. 

“What does Antifa want with a bunch of seasoned combat veterans? Why do they need that to supplement their movement? It’s a very interesting question to what they were precisely upto,” Brad Johnson, a former CIA officer, said in an interview last year. 

Multiple reports say that many of the far-left activists were not even sure about the real ideology and motive of the YPG, which received military and financial aid from Washington.