Category talk:Slavery in the United States

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December 2006[edit]

Should there be a category "Children of American Slaves?" Slavery surely made a lasting impact on persons descended from (former) slaves. Pastorwayne 16:51, 19 December 2006 (UTC)

This category name may suffer a problem: many American slaves were also the children of American slaves. Maybe a better name can be derived to communicate that the category is about the children of former slaves? Or is the proposed category also supposed to include the free children of people who remained in slavery all of their lives? Also, this category could be misinterpreted as applying to more than the first generation of people descended from slaves, thereby potentially encompassing a significant fraction of the living U.S. population and limiting its usefulness. Dr. Submillimeter 10:35, 20 December 2006 (UTC)

August 2010[edit]

Continuation of thread from Alan Liefting's talk page[edit]

( Note: The first three posts in this thread were copy-pasted by me from Alan Liefting's talk/discussion page.  – OhioStandard (talk) 08:35, 4 August 2010 (UTC) )

Hi Alan -

I was looking at what you'd done with cannabis-related categories, and noticed you'd made some very rapid-fire changes using HotCat around categorization for slavery, and particularly for slavery in the United States. Some of those seemed beneficial, but many also seemed erroneous to me, and I've reverted or modified those as indicated, for the reasons given following their associated links, provided below.

(1) Herbert Aptheker. It appears from the article that this author wrote extensively about slavery in the U.S.A., and that it would be helpful rather than otherwise to include the article about him in the category, "Slavery in the United States" (SITUS). I reverted your deletion of that category from the article.

(2) James Osgood Andrew. It appears to me that prominent/notable slave holders ( the phrase "slave owners" is prima facie offensive ) in the United States are appropriately included in the SITUS category. ( Or perhaps you'd prefer to create an additional category under SITUS, something like "Prominent American slave holders", and add the subject to that? ) I reverted your deletion of the SITUS category.

(3) John K. Kane. This judge is notable, according to the article about him, for his actions in favor of slavery, and especialy for his 1855 pro-slavery verdict in which he "denied the escaped slave all legal rights and placed legal penalties on the actions of abolitionists." You removed the article about him from the SITUS category; I let that stand but, based on the contents of the article, added the category "American pro-slavery activists", which is included in the SITUS category. This one is a judgment call, admittedly, since the judge colluded with his son's anti-slavery activities, but he also jailed his son for contempt of court over the matter. On balance, his legacy is that of an activist promoting slavery, imo.

(4) Matthew Ashby. Here you removed the category SITUS from the article. In keeping with the example present in the article about former slave, Thomas Sims, I've added the category "American slaves" to the article, which is included in the SITUS category.

(5) Andrew Bryan. Here you removed the category SITUS from the article. The article's just a stub, but if you follow the links it contains you'll see that, as the article's creator rightly puts it, "Bryan has an interesting and dramatic biography", and a rightful place in the history of slavery in the United States. I restored the SITUS category to the article/stub for this reason, and also categorized it under "American slaves", which is included in SITUS, btw.

(6) John Crenshaw. You deleted the SITUS category, and added the "Slave traders" category. Based on the article's description of Crenshaw as "an American landowner and slave trader based out of Gallatin County, Illinois", and that he appears to have been involved in slavery only within the U.S.A., I deleted the "Slave traders" category and added the "American slave traders" category (which is, of course, subsumed under "Slave traders", and also under SITUS in a parallel fashion).

(7) Slave_Auction_Scene.jpg. Here you removed the SITUS category from an image, that was "Apparently taken at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, Springfield, Illinois", and thus seems appropriately categorized under SITUS. ( Although I admit I'm unsure as to the rules used to categorize images. ) I reverted your deletion of the category from the image.

(8) Runaway_slave.jpg. Since this image originated in a book about the Underground Railroad, it seems to me to have been appropriately included in the SITUS category. I reverted your deletion of the SITUS category from the image.

If you object to any of these changes, please provide your rationale below ( rather than inline, ie not within the flow of this post, please ) and we'll see if we can come to agreement or compromise as to the way the above can be categorized most beneficially. Best,  – OhioStandard (talk) 18:26, 3 August 2010 (UTC)

Firstly you must realise that categories are a "in or out" status - you cannot be halfway. Therefore, to be added to a category the article must have a high degree of relevance to the categories in which it is included. A passing mention or indirect association with the topic of that category is insufficient for inclusion. See Help:Category, Help:Categories and WP:CAT for more info.
Replies in order:
  1. Writing about "something" is not a reason to be included in "Category:Something"
  2. Merely keeping slaves is not notable for the category.
  3. How is the inclusion criteria for prominent/notable slave holders determined? It could be a separate category as you suggest or it could be a list. I removed it as a judgement call.
  4. Category:American slaves is appropriate but not that one as well as Category:Slavery in the United States. I have removed Thomas Sims from Category:Slavery in the United States. Why include this particular slave in Category:Slavery in the United States? Note that there are about 200 articles in Category:American slaves
  5. As per point 4
  6. A better option which I had overlooked
  7. Images are not included in article categories
  8. As per point 7
Based on the reasons given please reconsider your edits. Any further discussion should take place at [[:Category talk:Slavery in the United States]] -- Alan Liefting (talk) - 21:20, 3 August 2010 (UTC)
Copy-pasting this post, and the two above, from User_talk:Alan_Liefting#Slavery_edits to [[:Category talk:Slavery in the United States]] to continue this thread and preserve its continuity.  – OhioStandard (talk) 06:44, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
Hi Alan; four quick, leading notes, then on to some of the points you raise:
  • I'm not sure of it, but it looks as if your numbering, beginning with (3) might be out-of-sync re the numbered points I posted? In any case, I'll refer below to the numbering I used in the initial post in this thread, just to be sure we're both talking about the same things.
  • I wasn't previously aware of the current practical limit of 200 elements in a category, and that changes my thoughts about these edits a bit.
  • We may end up agreeing on Andrew Bryan and Thomas Sims - I don't have time right now to follow up on your new changes to those two articles - but I believe the recommended sequence is "Bold, Revert, Discuss", rather than the "Bold, Revert, Reinstate, Discuss" process that you appear to have used with respect to those two. I'm not going to re-revert at this point, before I have the chance to consider more carefully, but following that second sequence does throw a little sand into the gears at this point: Doing so might initiate an edit war were you collaborating on this with an editor who lacks my deep inner calm and astonishing maturity of character. ;-)
  • I'm pressed for time at the moment, so I'll post just a partial reply to the points you raise now, and will come back to the remaining edits under discussion within 24 - 48 hours, picking up this current thread at that time.
(1) Herbert Aptheker. You make an excellent point; I've reinstated your original edit. It'd be too much to hope for, I suppose, to have a category for scholarly publications/research/writers about slavery?
(6) John Crenshaw. Thanks, glad I could help.
(7) You write, "Images are not included in article categories", but this appears to be at odds with Wikipedia:Categorization#Images.
(8) Ditto.
Will come back to the remaining four shortly. Best,  – OhioStandard (talk) 08:35, 4 August 2010 (UTC)

My numbering is correct.

1. The category with the contents you suggest would not be recommended.
4. The 200 page limit is what is fitted into one category page. It is not the limit for the category as a whole. I prefer to keep the contents of a category within those limits if practicable to make navigation easier for the reader. Of course, this cannot always be done but for a category such as this it is a worthwhile and achievable goal.
7. Wikipedia:Categorization#Images states what can be done. It is not a policy or guideline. I should have said the by convention images are not used in article categories. There is a series of categories starting at Category:Image galleries that have Wikipedia images.
8. ditto
I don't believe my edits were bold and I do not engage in edit wars. I rarely do a second revert. -- Alan Liefting (talk) - 09:52, 4 August 2010 (UTC)

About your statement, "My numbering is correct": Well, your points were called out by the first eight natural numbers in their correct ordinal sequence, which I suppose could be called "correct" in one sense. But the reason I'd introduced numbering for each article in the first place was so we could subsequently talk about "the first article" or the "third article". Your third numbered point above, though, didn't relate to the John K. Kane article, which I'd numbered as "(3)". No big deal, however, since I was able to sort out what you meant. Anyway, let's recap:
(1) Herbert Aptheker. We appear to be done with this one.
(2) James Osgood Andrew. I agree that SITUS, per se, is not really the best category for prominent slaveholders. But do you see no value in having a way to categorize the subjects of existing biography articles as slaveholders? George Washington was prominent-enough that there's a separate article about his having been a slaveholder, but I think it'd be helpful overall to have a category under SITUS that could include not only him, but also other prominent/notable persons who held slaves. I'm not proposing that someone should have an article about him on Wikipedia just because he was a slaveholder. What I'm saying is that it would be helpful to be able to categorize people who already have an article about them on the basis of whether they were slaveholders or not; it would be helpful for interested persons to be able to quickly find which independently-notable persons of the time were slaveholders, in other words. Do you have any objection to such a category under SITUS?
(3) John K. Kane. We appear to be done with this one.
(4) Matthew Ashby. We appear to be done with this one.
(5) Andrew Bryan. I understand your objection to having Bryan and others categorized under both SITUS and "American slaves", and sympathize with it. My reason for wanting him in both categories was that he wasn't just a slave, but also was founder of the first African-American Baptist church in the U.S.A. But upon reflection, I see that everyone in the category "American slaves" is notable for more than just having been a slave. Further, I note that there's a separate article for the church he founded. For these reasons, I agree that he need not be categorized in both ways. We appear to now be agreed on this one, as well.
(6) John Crenshaw. We're agreed on this one.
(7) Slave_Auction_Scene.jpg. Based on the information I've seen, I think the category information needs to remain. Please see discussion, following.
(8) Runaway_slave.jpg. Ditto.
In response to my objection to your having removed categories from the two image files listed immediately above, you wrote:

Wikipedia:Categorization#Images states what can be done. It is not a policy or guideline. I should have said the by convention images are not used in article categories. There is a series of categories starting at Category:Image galleries that have Wikipedia images.

Based on the documentation I'm seeing, I can't find evidence of any such convention. On the contrary, and in addition to Wikipedia:Categorization#Images please see First steps: sorting from the Commons documentation, which calls the inclusion of categories for images "crucial". I understand that there are some possible difficulties around image categorization ( e.g. see this village pump thread on the Commons ) but I don't think those difficulties warrant the wholesale removal of category information that other editors have added. Frankly, based on the information I've seen so far, it looks to me like you need to reconsider that practice.
So then, at this point we're still discussing James Osgood Andrew and the possibility of some sort of "slaveholders" category under SITUS ( the Slavery in the United States category ), and the categorization of image files, particularly as that relates to the two above. Best,  – OhioStandard (talk) 08:34, 6 August 2010 (UTC)

It is an unwritten convention that images are not included in article categories. If you look at the vast majority of categories (apart from ones set up for images alone) you will find that there are no image thumbnails. Other editors agree. See User_talk:Alan_Liefting/Archive_10#Blanking_commons_images. Commons policy is not necessarily used on WP especially since it is used heavily for images. Also, Wikipedia_talk:Categorization/Archive_6#Images_in_categories and Wikipedia_talk:Categorization/Archive_8#Images_in_categories suggest that there is support for removing the images.

A Category:Slaveholders or suchlike is an option. Note that there is a List of slave owners. A list is a better idea since it allows for annotation. -- Alan Liefting (talk) - 11:10, 6 August 2010 (UTC)