by Conor Friedersdorf

TNC offers up a history lesson:

In much of the antebellum South, the enslaved knew these last weeks of December as Holiday. Holiday was generally a good time, you could secure passes to see relatives on far-off plantations, get plenty of time off, and the master would often come down the hovels and hand out new clothes, cider and whiskey.

But for many slaves Holiday was also a season foreboding, for the start of the New Year often brought the selling and trading of slaves, and thus the destruction of families. I mean not to ruin your own personal Holiday, and all that it means to you. But I find that this is the time when my thoughts turn to length and breadth of my family, and the great sacrifices that were made so that my Holiday would be different.

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