I’m now watching the third lecture in a Yale history class by professor David W. Blight about the U.S. Civil War and Reconstruction Era (1845-1877). This particular lecture deals with the pro-slavery ideology. As a Canadian, a lot of this is new to me.
I think this passage says a lot:
But it’s amazing to read the letters and the language of slave traders when they write to each other, the complacency, the mixture of just pure racism on the one hand and just business language on the other. “I refused a girl 20-years-old at $700.00 yesterday,” one trader wrote to another in 1853. “If you think best to take her at 700, I can still get her. She is very badly whipped but has good teeth.” “Bought a cook yesterday,” wrote another trader, “Bought a cook yesterday that was to go out of the state. She just made the people mad, that was all.” “I have bought a boy named Isaac,” wrote another trader, “for $1100.00.” He writes this in 1854 to his partner. “Bought a boy named Isaac. I think him very prime. He is a house-servant, first-rate cook, and splendid carriage driver. He is also a fine painter and varnisher, and says he can make a fine panel door. Also, he performs well on the violin. He is a genius. And strange to say, I think he’s smarter than I am.” Truth always creeps through all of our language–it doesn’t always but sometimes–creeps through our language, doesn’t it?
I’m also four lectures in a MIT Physics class by Walter Lewin (8.01, classical mechanics), and it’s excellent so far. I also recommend it.
For more free online classes, have a look at Academic Earth.
Update: Another great resource is Youtube EDU.