Despite recently providing instructional material to its employees that taught them to “be less white,” the Coca-Cola company is seemingly running away from its own history and creator: slave owning Confederate Army colonel and morphine addicted John Pemberton.
Over a century before the company would become derided for purchasing an anti-white curriculum for its employees, Coca-Cola was invented by Pemberton, who – having sustained a devastating sabre wound while fighting for the Confederacy during the Civil War – was addicted to morphine, and hoped the carbonated beverage would cure his addiction.
Prior to the Civil War, Pemberton married Anna Eliza Clifford Lewis, the daughter of a prominent Georgia plantation owner. In 1854, Pemberton and his wife gave birth two a child, prompting her father to sell the young couple two slaves to assist with the raising of the child. Pemberton was also noted as owning a 20-year-old female slave in the 1860 Slave Schedule, suggesting he may have owned more than the two sold to him by his father-in-law.
Pemberton, and aspiring pharmacist and drug inventor, believed Coca-Cola could help him overcome his addiction to morphine, something he became dependent on after sustaining a saber injury during the Battle of Columbus, Georgia, during the Civil War.
According to the 2004 book, The Pursuit of Oblivion, Pemberton “was shot, slashed with a sabre, and scarred for life by the Yankees.” He later went bankrupt, and suffering from arthritis and “recurrent stomach pains,” Pemberton “became reliant on morphine” and came to “believe the claims of American medicine-makers that their coca products could be used to wean people from morphine addiction.”
By 1884, Pemberton began selling concoctions of wine, coca leaves, and kola nuts. When prohibition came to Atlanta soon after, he instead sold a carbonated beverage made with coca leaves and kola nuts, calling his creation Coca-Cola.
Pemberton, however, struggled to market his creation and ultimately saw little profits during his lifetime. Following his death, the company ultimately became successful, eventually morphing into the corporate giant that provides materials to its employees which instructed them to “be less white.”
Ironically, LinkedIn sold the be less white curriculum to Coca-Cola and other major companies without knowledge of the person whose lectures were stolen to create the materials. LinkedIn ultimately made them unavailable after the media raised attention to the course, and National File tracked the materials’ creation to a Koch-funded company called Big Think, which specializes in tearing down Christianity and traditional American values in favor of the style of free market libertarianism favored by the Koch empire.