Mary Ellen Pleasant Becomes a Rich, Black Abolitionist (feat. Lisa Bonet) – Drunk History


HELLO. TODAY, WE’RE GONNA TALK
ABOUT MARY ELLEN PLEASANT, THE MOTHER OF CIVIL RIGHTS
IN CALIFORNIA. MARY ELLEN PLEASANT
WAS A LIGHT-SKINNED BLACK WOMAN. SHE WAS A SLAVE UNTIL ONE DAY A PLANTER
BOUGHT HER OUT OF SLAVERY AND MADE HER A FREE WOMAN. SO WHEN SHE WENT
TO CALIFORNIA, SHE PRETENDED
THAT SHE WAS A WHITE WOMAN. NOW, FIRST OFF,
SHE WAS A CHEF. AND PEOPLE ARE COMING IN
AND SHE’S COOKING FOR THEM. AND PEOPLE LOVE HER. PEOPLE HAD STARTED BIDDING FOR
HER TO BE THEIR PERSONAL CHEF. AND SHE WAS LIKE, YOU KNOW WHAT,
[bleep] ALL THAT. I’M GONNA OPEN
MY OWN RESTAURANT. SHE WAS HEAD BITCH
IN CHARGE. SHE HAD MADE
SOME [bleep] HAPPEN. SHE HAD MADE [bleep] HAPPEN
FOR, LIKE, BLACK PEOPLE… GETTING JOBS. SO AS A WHITE WOMAN,
SHE STARTED OPENING RESTAURANTS. SHE HAD LAUNDRIES. SHE HAD BOARDING HOUSES. SHE STARTED
GETTING BLACK PEOPLE HIRED FOR POSITIONS THEY’D NEVER
NORMALLY BE HIRED FOR AT THAT TIME. THIS WOMAN WAS
A RENAISSANCE WOMAN. IN THE LATE 1850s, MARY ELLEN PLEASANT
IS MAKING A TON OF [bleep] MONEY IN CALIFORNIA. BUT SHE SAID, EVEN THOUGH
I’M KINDA, LIKE, LIGHT-SKINNED AND I GET ALONG
WITH EVERYBODY AND EVERYBODY THINKS
I’M WHITE AND I COULD LIVE
A VERY COMFORTABLE LIFE IF I WANTED TO…
PFFT! PFFT!
[bleep] THAT. SHE TOOK THAT MONEY AND SHE STARTED
DOING SOME [bleep]. DURING THIS TIME, SHE’D BEEN ACTIVELY
FREEING SLAVES. SHE SAID, YOU KNOW WHAT,
JAMES BROWN. JOHN BROWN.
[laughing] JOHN BROWN,
A FAMOUS ABOLITIONIST, WHO WAS A WHITE MAN– YOU KNOW,
HE’S TRYING TO FREE SLAVES. HERE’S MY MONEY. HERE’S $30,000
SO YOU CAN BUY GUNS AND STUFF. THEY BUY LAND IN CANADA BECAUSE THEY’RE GONNA OPEN
A HOME AND FARM SO THAT THESE FREED SLAVES
CAN GO LIVE. JOHN BROWN GETS CAUGHT, AND THEY FIND A LETTER ON HIM THAT SAYS SOMETHING LIKE, HEY, I’M IN SUPPORT OF YOU AND I’M GONNA KEEP BEING
IN SUPPORT OF YOU. JUST MAKE
SOME [bleep] HAPPEN. AND INSTEAD OF M.E.P.,
IT LOOKED LIKE W.E.P. SO IT WAS PUBLISHED
EVERYWHERE. EVERYBODY BE ON THE LOOKOUT
FOR SOME DICK NAMED W.E.P. WHERE WAS I AT,
HISTORICALLY? – MM-MM. – AT THAT TIME, SHE WAS IN LOVE
WITH A MAN NAMED THOMAS BELL. HE WAS A SCOTSMAN. [romantic music playing] HE WAS A BUSINESSMAN. AND SHE LOVED HIM. [music stops] THAT IS–
THAT WAS NOT ME FARTING. THAT’S…THE…CHAIR. AND THEY HAD BUSINESSES
TOGETHER, MEANING LAUNDRIES, AND BLAH, BLAH, BLAH,
AND BULL[bleep]. AND TOGETHER,
THEY AMASSED A FORTUNE OF $30 MILLION. WHICH, LIKE, NOWADAYS… IS LIKE A BATRILLION GILLION
A-DOLLARS. IN, LIKE, ONE
OF THE “CENSUSESES,” SHE OUTTED HERSELF
AS A BLACK WOMAN. WHEN THE LOVE OF HER LIFE,
THOMAS BELL, DIED, PEOPLE STARTED TALKING
ABOUT HER BADLY. THEY–
WHAT’S IT CALLED? THEY “DISMISSINATED” HER. THEY “SHENAMENANATED” HER. THEY [talking gibberish] HER.
[laughing] NO, BUT REALLY.
AND THEY SAID TERRIBLE THINGS. SHE EATS BABIES.
SHE STEALS BABIES. SHE DOES THIS, SHE’S A WHORE,
SHE’S A WHORE MADAM. SHE’S A THIS,
SHE’S A THAT. THAT’S WHEN THEY GAVE HER
THE NAME “MAMMY.” AND THEY CALLED HER
“MAMMY PLEASANT.” THE [bleep]’S THAT ABOUT? AND YOU KNOW WHAT,
IN THE END, SHE MADE MONEY
LIKE A TRUE AMERICAN, AND SHE FOUGHT
FOR PEOPLE’S FREEDOM AND RIGHTS LIKE A TRUE THE MOST AMERICAN. SHE DID EXACTLY
WHAT SHE WANTED TO DO AND SAID “I’D RATHER BE A CORPSE
THAN A COWARD.” I’M FREE,
I WANT Y’ALL TO BE FREE, AND I WANT ME TO BE FREE. [bleep] YOU, [bleep] YOU,
[bleep] YOU. AND P.S. I COUNT ‘CAUSE I’M A MOTHER[bleep]
PERSON, DICKFACES. THERE’S SOME PARK
IN SAN FRANCISCO THAT IS DEDICATED TO HER,
AND SHE HAUNTS IT. – NOW, WHY WOULD SHE
HAUNT SOMETHING THAT PAYS TRIBUTE TO HER? – ‘CAUSE IT’S THE SMALLEST
MOTHER[bleep] PARK IN SAN FRANCISCO. – THAT’S AN ANGRY GHOST. – I DON’T KNOW IF SHE’S ANGRY. CAN GHOSTS BE ANGRY?
THEY’RE ALREADY DEAD. WHAT ARE THEY PISSED OFF
ABOUT? – THAT THEY’RE DEAD. – YEAH, I GUESS IT DEPENDS
WHAT YOU FEEL ABOUT THINGS. AGAIN, THAT WASN’T ME FARTING.

100 thoughts on “Mary Ellen Pleasant Becomes a Rich, Black Abolitionist (feat. Lisa Bonet) – Drunk History

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *