BLOGROLL: Parry on Police Dogs and Anti-Black Violence – @AAIHS

Tyler Parry on the history of dogs and violence against people of color:

“The author caught by the bloodhounds.” Illustration from Narrative William W. Brown: An American Slave (Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture)

“Scholars note that European colonists brought dogs to the Americas and used them as tools for intimidation and violence against indigenous populations, but the deliberately racialized breeding of canines occurred during the expansion of Black chattel slavery. As slave rebellions erupted throughout the western hemisphere in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, a breed called the “Cuban bloodhound” was diffused throughout the slaveholding colonies. Named for the island from which they hailed, they were physically imposing and extremely aggressive. Used in Cuba to confine slaves to the plantations, they were eventually exported to quell Black revolts. The British used them against the Jamaican Maroons in the late eighteenth century and the French engaged their services during the Haitian Revolution in the early nineteenth century.

“A few decades later, the US government was engrossed in a lengthy conflict with the Black Seminole Indians in Florida, and military officials followed the French and British examples by importing Cuban bloodhounds to help crush the revolt. Following this event, entrepreneurial white southerners interbred the dogs with local breeds, birthing the occupation of professional slave hunting in the antebellum South.”

Source: Police Dogs and Anti-Black Violence – AAIHS

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