First person accounts of slavery

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first person accounts of slavery

The Slaves War: The Civil War in the Words of Former Slaves by Andrew Ward

The first narrative history of the Civil War told by the very people it freed

Groundbreaking, compelling, and poignant, The Slaves’ War delivers an unprecedented vision of the nation’s bloodiest conflict. An acclaimed historian of nineteenth-century and African-American history, Andrew Ward gives us the first narrative of the Civil War told from the perspective of those whose destiny it decided. Woven together from hundreds of interviews, diaries, letters, and memoirs, here is the Civil War as seen from not only battlefields, capitals, and camps, but also slave quarters, kitchens, roadsides, farms, towns, and swamps. Speaking in a quintessentially American language of wit, candor, and biblical power, army cooks and launderers, runaways, teamsters, and gravediggers bring the war to vivid life.
From slaves’ theories about the causes of the war to their frank assessments of such major figures as Lincoln, Davis, Lee, and Grant; from their searing memories of the carnage of battle to their often startling attitudes toward masters and liberators alike; and from their initial jubilation at the Yankee invasion of the slave South to the crushing disappointment of freedom’s promise unfulfilled, The Slaves’ War is a transformative and engrossing vision of America’s Second Revolution.
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Published 18.03.2019

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Listen to first-hand accounts of lives in slavery

How does one use these sources? At best with the awareness that a totalizing of history cannot be reconstructed from these interested, selective, and fragmentary accounts and with an acknowledgment of the interventionist role of the interpreter, the equally interested labor of historical revision, and the impossibility of reconstituting the past free from the disfigurements of present concerns. With all these provisos issued, these narratives nonetheless remain an important source for understanding the everyday experience of slavery and its aftermath. Bost - Mary Reynolds - Home Page. An Enslaved Person's Life 2.

The personal accounts of former slaves were incredibly important in strengthening the case for abolition, as they brought to light the harsh realities of the system of transatlantic enslavement. They not only reflect, on an individual and personalised level, general patterns of the transatlantic slave trade and slavery, but also bring into relief and humanise the experiences of the vast majority of individuals whose lives were never recorded and are only seen as statistics. These accounts were usually but not exclusively tales of both struggle and progress or related a spiritual journey, and were either written by the individuals themselves, with or without help, or were told to someone else and transcribed. Their purpose was to arouse the sympathy of their readers and inspire them to campaign against enslavement, as well as to give a voice to the enslaved. In her narrative The History of Mary Prince, a West Indian slave, related by herself , published in , Mary Prince writes, 'I have been a slave, I have felt what a slave feels and I know what a slave knows

The personal accounts of former slaves were incredibly important in strengthening the case Born in Bermuda in , Mary's life was at first relatively tranquil.
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Mary Prince

But a new book makes it literal. Barracoon: The Story of the Last Slave presents the remarkable fact that there were people alive in America who had experienced abduction from Africa — being examined, displayed, traded and enslaved — well into the 20th century. Kossola was the last survivor of the last known slave ship to sail from the African continent to America with a human cargo. Written in the s, but hidden away from a public audience until now, it is also perhaps the last great, unpublished work by the Harlem Renaissance writer Zora Neale Hurston. By , when Hurston interviewed Kossola — sweetening him with peaches, Virginia hams and late summer melons —, he was around 90 years old, and yet able, over a period of three months, to recall his life in Takkoi in great detail; his grandfather, an officer of the king; his mother and siblings; law and justice; love and adolescence. Through all these years — many more lived in America than he had spent in his African birth nation — he never let go of the unspeakable loss of his homeland.

5 thoughts on “The Slaves War: The Civil War in the Words of Former Slaves by Andrew Ward

  1. While these narratives provide an invaluable first-person account of slavery and the individuals it affected, the interviews must be viewed in the context of the.

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