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“A profound impact on Hurston’s literary legacy.”—New York Times
“One of the greatest writers of our time.”—Toni Morrison
“Zora Neale Hurston’s genius has once again produced a Maestrapiece.”—Alice Walker
A major literary event: a newly published work from the author of the American classic Their Eyes Were Watching God, with a foreword from Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker, brilliantly illuminates the horror and injustices of slavery as it tells the true story of one of the last-known survivors of the Atlantic slave trade—abducted from Africa on the last "Black Cargo" ship to arrive in the United States.
In 1927, Zora Neale Hurston went to Plateau, Alabama, just outside Mobile, to interview eighty-six-year-old Cudjo Lewis. Of the millions of men, women, and children transported from Africa to America as slaves, Cudjo was then the only person alive to tell the story of this integral part of the nation’s history. Hurston was there to record Cudjo’s firsthand account of the raid that led to his capture and bondage fifty years after the Atlantic slave trade was outlawed in the United States.
In 1931, Hurston returned to Plateau, the African-centric community three miles from Mobile founded by Cudjo and other former slaves from his ship. Spending more than three months there, she talked in depth with Cudjo about the details of his life. During those weeks, the young writer and the elderly formerly enslaved man ate peaches and watermelon that grew in the backyard and talked about Cudjo’s past—memories from his childhood in Africa, the horrors of being captured and held in a barracoon for selection by American slavers, the harrowing experience of the Middle Passage packed with more than 100 other souls aboard the Clotilda, and the years he spent in slavery until the end of the Civil War.
Based on those interviews, featuring Cudjo’s unique vernacular, and written from Hurston’s perspective with the compassion and singular style that have made her one of the preeminent American authors of the twentieth-century, Barracoon masterfully illustrates the tragedy of slavery and of one life forever defined by it. Offering insight into the pernicious legacy that continues to haunt us all, black and white, this poignant and powerful work is an invaluable contribution to our shared history and culture.
First published in 1845, Narrativeof the Life of Frederick Douglass is an eye-opening depiction of American slavery. Part autobiography, part human-rights treatise, it describes the everyday horrors inflicted on captive laborers, as well as the strength and courage needed to survive.
Born into slavery on a Maryland plantation in 1818, Frederick Douglass spent years secretly teaching himself to read and write—a crime for which he risked life and limb. After two failed escapes, Douglass finally, blessedly boarded a train in 1838 that would eventually lead him to New York City, and freedom.
Few books have done more to change America’s notion of African Americans than this seminal work. Beyond its historical and social relevancy, it is admired today for its gripping stories, intensity of spirit, and heartfelt humanity.
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The definitive, dramatic biography of the most important African American of the nineteenth century: Frederick Douglass, the escaped slave who became the greatest orator of his day and one of the leading abolitionists and writers of the era.
As a young man Frederick Douglass (1818–1895) escaped from slavery in Baltimore, Maryland. He was fortunate to have been taught to read by his slave owner mistress, and he would go on to become one of the major literary figures of his time. He wrote three versions of his autobiography over the course of his lifetime and published his own newspaper. His very existence gave the lie to slave owners: with dignity and great intelligence he bore witness to the brutality of slavery.
Initially mentored by William Lloyd Garrison, Douglass spoke widely, often to large crowds, using his own story to condemn slavery. He broke with Garrison to become a political abolitionist, a Republican, and eventually a Lincoln supporter. By the Civil War and during Reconstruction, Douglass became the most famed and widely travelled orator in the nation. He denounced the premature end of Reconstruction and the emerging Jim Crow era. In his unique and eloquent voice, written and spoken, Douglass was a fierce critic of the United States as well as a radical patriot. He sometimes argued politically with younger African Americans, but he never forsook either the Republican party or the cause of black civil and political rights.
In this remarkable biography, David Blight has drawn on new information held in a private collection that few other historian have consulted, as well as recently discovered issues of Douglass’s newspapers. Blight tells the fascinating story of Douglass’s two marriages and his complex extended family. Douglass was not only an astonishing man of words, but a thinker steeped in Biblical story and theology. There has not been a major biography of Douglass in a quarter century. David Blight’s Frederick Douglass affords this important American the distinguished biography he deserves.
This epic work—named a best book of the year by the Washington Post, Time, the Los Angeles Times, Amazon, the San Francisco Chronicle, and a notable book by the New York Times—tells the story of the Hemingses, whose close blood ties to our third president had been systematically expunged from American history until very recently. Now, historian and legal scholar Annette Gordon-Reed traces the Hemings family from its origins in Virginia in the 1700s to the family’s dispersal after Jefferson’s death in 1826.
Between the years of 1830 and 1927, as the last generation of blacks born into slavery was reaching maturity, a small group of industrious, tenacious, and daring men and women broke new ground to attain the highest levels of financial success.
Mary Ellen Pleasant, used her Gold Rush wealth to further the cause of abolitionist John Brown. Robert Reed Church, became the largest landowner in Tennessee. Hannah Elias, the mistress of a New York City millionaire, used the land her lover gave her to build an empire in Harlem. Orphan and self-taught chemist Annie Turnbo-Malone, developed the first national brand of hair care products. Mississippi school teacher O. W. Gurley, developed a piece of Tulsa, Oklahoma, into a “town” for wealthy black professionals and craftsmen that would become known as “the Black Wall Street.” Although Madam C. J Walker was given the title of America’s first female black millionaire, she was not. She was the first, however, to flaunt and openly claim her wealth—a dangerous and revolutionary act.
Nearly all the unforgettable personalities in this amazing collection were often attacked, demonized, or swindled out of their wealth. Black Fortunes illuminates as never before the birth of the black business titan.
Mende was sold to a wealthy Arab family who lived in Sudan's capital city, Khartoum. So began her dark years of enslavement. Her Arab owners called her "Yebit," or "black slave." She called them "master." She was subjected to appalling physical, sexual, and mental abuse. She slept in a shed and ate the family leftovers like a dog. She had no rights, no freedom, and no life of her own.
Normally, Mende's story never would have come to light. But seven years after she was seized and sold into slavery, she was sent to work for another master—a diplomat working in the United Kingdom. In London, she managed to make contact with other Sudanese, who took pity on her. In September 2000, she made a dramatic break for freedom.
Slave is a story almost beyond belief. It depicts the strength and dignity of the Nuba tribe. It recounts the savage way in which the Nuba and their ancient culture are being destroyed by a secret modern-day trade in slaves. Most of all, it is a remarkable testimony to one young woman's unbreakable spirit and tremendous courage.
In the first volume in the Penguin History of the United States, edited by Eric Foner, Alan Taylor challenges the traditional story of colonial history by examining the many cultures that helped make America, from the native inhabitants from milennia past, through the decades of Western colonization and conquest, and across the entire continent, all the way to the Pacific coast.
Transcending the usual Anglocentric version of our colonial past, he recovers the importance of Native American tribes, African slaves, and the rival empires of France, Spain, the Netherlands, and even Russia in the colonization of North America. Moving beyond the Atlantic seaboard to examine the entire continent, American Colonies reveals a pivotal period in the global interaction of peoples, cultures, plants, animals, and microbes. In a vivid narrative, Taylor draws upon cutting-edge scholarship to create a timely picture of the colonial world characterized by an interplay of freedom and slavery, opportunity and loss.
"Formidable . . . provokes us to contemplate the ways in which residents of North America have dealt with diversity." -The New York Times Book Review
From the Trade Paperback edition.
From the first slaves arriving in Jamestown in 1619, the cotton fields in the Southern States and shipbuilding in New England, to the slaves who laid down their lives in war so that Americans could be free, American Slavery in an Hour covers the breadth of the subject without sacrificing important historical and cultural details.
An important and dark time in Black – and American – history, American Slavery in an Hour will explain the key facts and give you a clear overview of this much discussed period of history, as well as its legacy in modern America.
Know your stuff: read the history of American Slavery in just one hour.
More than any other scholar, Eric Foner has influenced our understanding of America's history. Now, making brilliant use of extraordinary evidence, the Pulitzer Prize–winning historian once again reconfigures the national saga of American slavery and freedom.
A deeply entrenched institution, slavery lived on legally and commercially even in the northern states that had abolished it after the American Revolution. Slaves could be found in the streets of New York well after abolition, traveling with owners doing business with the city's major banks, merchants, and manufacturers. New York was also home to the North’s largest free black community, making it a magnet for fugitive slaves seeking refuge. Slave catchers and gangs of kidnappers roamed the city, seizing free blacks, often children, and sending them south to slavery.
To protect fugitives and fight kidnappings, the city's free blacks worked with white abolitionists to organize the New York Vigilance Committee in 1835. In the 1840s vigilance committees proliferated throughout the North and began collaborating to dispatch fugitive slaves from the upper South, Washington, and Baltimore, through Philadelphia and New York, to Albany, Syracuse, and Canada. These networks of antislavery resistance, centered on New York City, became known as the underground railroad. Forced to operate in secrecy by hostile laws, courts, and politicians, the city’s underground-railroad agents helped more than 3,000 fugitive slaves reach freedom between 1830 and 1860. Until now, their stories have remained largely unknown, their significance little understood.
Building on fresh evidence—including a detailed record of slave escapes secretly kept by Sydney Howard Gay, one of the key organizers in New York—Foner elevates the underground railroad from folklore to sweeping history. The story is inspiring—full of memorable characters making their first appearance on the historical stage—and significant—the controversy over fugitive slaves inflamed the sectional crisis of the 1850s. It eventually took a civil war to destroy American slavery, but here at last is the story of the courageous effort to fight slavery by "practical abolition," person by person, family by family.
The American Civil War started when eleven southern ‘slave’ states declared their independence from the United States of America. Abraham Lincoln’s Republican government were strongly against slavery and fought to abolish it and keep the country united.
The American Civil War: History in an Hour gives a concise and authoritative overview of these four years of bloody and devastating warfare to help you understand how the Civil War shaped America today and changed the history of slavery forever.
Know your stuff: read concise history of the tumultuous struggle between the Confederates and the Union in just one hour.
Encompassing everything from immigration to civil war, emancipation, slavery and migration, Black History in an Hour gives you a neat overview of this vast and fascinating subject.
This e-book is a superb introduction to the long and varied history of African Americans.
Know your stuff: read about Black History in just one hour.
In Forever Free, Eric Foner overturns numerous assumptions growing out of the traditional understanding of the period, which is based almost exclusively on white sources and shaped by (often unconscious) racism. He presents the period as a time of determination, especially on the part of recently emancipated black Americans, to put into effect the principles of equal rights and citizenship for all.
Drawing on a wide range of long-neglected documents, he places a new emphasis on the centrality of the black experience to an understanding of the era. We see African Americans as active agents in overthrowing slavery, in helping win the Civil War, and–even more actively–in shaping Reconstruction and creating a legacy long obscured and misunderstood. Foner makes clear how, by war’s end, freed slaves in the South built on networks of church and family in order to exercise their right of suffrage as well as gain access to education, land, and employment.
He shows us that the birth of the Ku Klux Klan and renewed acts of racial violence were retaliation for the progress made by blacks soon after the war. He refutes lingering misconceptions about Reconstruction, including the attribution of its ills to corrupt African American politicians and “carpetbaggers,” and connects it to the movements for civil rights and racial justice.
Joshua Brown’s illustrated commentary on the era’s graphic art and photographs complements the narrative. He offers a unique portrait of how Americans envisioned their world and time.
Forever Free is an essential contribution to our understanding of the events that fundamentally reshaped American life after the Civil War–a persuasive reading of history that transforms our sense of the era from a time of failure and despair to a threshold of hope and achievement.
Michael Eric Dyson explores the powerful, surprising way the politics of race have shaped Barack Obama’s identity and groundbreaking presidency. How has President Obama dealt publicly with race—as the national traumas of Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Freddie Gray, and Walter Scott have played out during his tenure? What can we learn from Obama's major race speeches about his approach to racial conflict and the black criticism it provokes?
Dyson explores whether Obama’s use of his own biracialism as a radiant symbol has been driven by the president’s desire to avoid a painful moral reckoning on race. And he sheds light on identity issues within the black power structure, telling the fascinating story of how Obama has spurned traditional black power brokers, significantly reducing their leverage.
President Obama’s own voice—from an Oval Office interview granted to Dyson for this book—along with those of Eric Holder, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Andrew Young, and Maxine Waters, among others, add unique depth to this profound tour of the nation’s first black presidency.
“The total number of slaves imported is not known. It is estimated that nearly 900,000 came to America in the 16th Century, 2.75 million in the 17th Century, 7 million in the 18th, and over 4 million in the 19th – perhaps 15 million in total. Probably every slave imported represented, on average, five corpses in Africa or on the high seas. The American slave trade, therefore, meant the elimination of at least 60 million Africans from their fatherland.”
The Black Holocaust For Beginners – part indisputably documented chronicle, part passionately engaging narrative, puts the tragic event in plain sight where it belongs! The long overdue book answers all of your questions, sensitively and in great depth.
Miracle on Voodoo Mountain is the inspirational memoir of an accomplished and driven 24-year old who quit her job, sold everything, and moved to Haiti, by herself—all without a clear plan of action. Megan Boudreaux had visited Haiti on a few humanitarian trips but each trip multiplied the sense that someone needed to address the devastation—especially with the children, many of whom were kept as household slaves on the poverty-stricken and earthquake-devastated Caribbean island.
God guided her every step as she moved blindly to a foreign land without knowing the language, the people, or the future. From becoming the adoptive mother of former child slaves, to receiving the divine gift of the Haitian Creole language, to starting, building, and running a school for more than 500 children, "the amazingness of what God did after I made the choice to be obedient is incredible," said Megan.
Three years later, six acres on Bellevue Mountain in Gressier is the home of the nonprofit Respire Haiti at the former site of voodoo worship, and in the area that many still come to make animal sacrifices, Megan and her staff of nearly 200 are transforming this community as they educate, feed, and address the needs.
In this widely praised history of an infamous institution, award-winning scholar Marcus Rediker shines a light into the darkest corners of the British and American slave ships of the eighteenth century. Drawing on thirty years of research in maritime archives, court records, diaries, and firsthand accounts, The Slave Ship is riveting and sobering in its revelations, reconstructing in chilling detail a world nearly lost to history: the "floating dungeons" at the forefront of the birth of African American culture.
May, 1986: Selling his mother's eggs and peanuts near his village in southern Sudan, seven year old Francis Bok's life was shattered when Arab raiders on horseback, armed with rifles and long knives, burst into the quiet marketplace, murdering men and women and gathering the young children into a group. Strapped to horses and donkeys, Francis and others were taken north, into lives of slavery under wealthy Muslim farmers.
For ten years, Francis lived alone in a shed near the goats and cattle that were his responsibility. Fed with scraps from the table, slowly learning bits of an unfamiliar language and religion, the boy had almost no human contact other than his captor's family. After two failed attempts to escape-each bringing severe beatings and death threats-Francis finally escaped at age seventeen, a dramatic breakaway on foot that was his final chance. Yet his slavery did not end there, for even as he made his way toward the capital city of Khartoum, others sought to deprive him of his freedom. Determined to avoid that fate and discover what had happened to his family on that terrible day in 1986, the teenager persevered through prison and refugee camps for three more years, winning the attention of United Nations officials and being granted passage to America.
Now a student and an anti-slavery activist, Francis Bok has made it his life mission to combat world slavery. His is the first voice to speak for an estimated twenty seven million people held against their will in nearly every nation, including our own. Escape from Slavery is at once a riveting adventure, a story of desperation and triumph, and a window revealing a world that few have survived to tell.
“A necessary work . . . [Reséndez’s] reportage will likely surprise you.”—NPR
“One of the most profound contributions to North American history.”—Los Angeles Times
Since the time of Columbus, Indian slavery was illegal in much of the American continent. Yet, as Andrés Reséndez illuminates in his myth-shattering The Other Slavery, it was practiced for centuries as an open secret. There was no abolitionist movement to protect the tens of thousands of Natives who were kidnapped and enslaved by the conquistadors. Reséndez builds the incisive case that it was mass slavery—more than epidemics—that decimated Indian populations across North America. Through riveting new evidence, including testimonies of courageous priests, rapacious merchants, and Indian captives, The Other Slavery reveals nothing less than a key missing piece of American history. For over two centuries we have fought over, abolished, and tried to come to grips with African American slavery. It is time for the West to confront an entirely separate, equally devastating enslavement we have long failed truly to see.
“Beautifully written . . . A tour de force.”—Chronicle of Higher Education
Seeds of Empire tells the remarkable story of how the cotton revolution of the early nineteenth century transformed northeastern Mexico into the western edge of the United States, and how the rise and spectacular collapse of the Republic of Texas as a nation built on cotton and slavery proved to be a blueprint for the Confederacy of the 1860s.
“David Batstone is a heroic character.” —Bono
In the revised and updated version of this harrowing yet deeply inspirational exposé, award-winning journalist David Batstone gives the most up-to-date information available on the $31 billion human trafficking epidemic. With profiles of twenty-first century abolitionists like Thailand’s Kru Nam and Peru’s Lucy Borja, Batstone tells readers what they can do to stop the modern slave trade. Like Kevin Bales’ Disposable People and Ending Slavery, or E. Benjamin Skinner’s A Crime So Monstrous, Batstone’s Not for Sale is an informative and necessary manifesto for universal freedom.
So far, historians have offered only easy irony or paradox to explain this extraordinary Founding Father who was an emancipationist in his youth and then recoiled from his own inspiring rhetoric and equivocated about slavery; who enjoyed his renown as a revolutionary leader yet kept some of his own children as slaves. But Wiencek's Jefferson is a man of business and public affairs who makes a success of his debt-ridden plantation thanks to what he calls the "silent profits" gained from his slaves—and thanks to a skewed moral universe that he and thousands of others readily inhabited. We see Jefferson taking out a slave-equity line of credit with a Dutch bank to finance the building of Monticello and deftly creating smoke screens when visitors are dismayed by his apparent endorsement of a system they thought he'd vowed to overturn. It is not a pretty story. Slave boys are whipped to make them work in the nail factory at Monticello that pays Jefferson's grocery bills. Parents are divided from children—in his ledgers they are recast as money—while he composes theories that obscure the dynamics of what some of his friends call "a vile commerce."
Many people of Jefferson's time saw a catastrophe coming and tried to stop it, but not Jefferson. The pursuit of happiness had been badly distorted, and an oligarchy was getting very rich. Is this the quintessential American story?
A leading expert on modern-day slavery, Kevin Bales has traveled to some of the world’s most dangerous places documenting and battling human trafficking. In the course of his reporting, Bales began to notice a pattern emerging: Where slavery existed, so did massive, unchecked environmental destruction. But why?
Bales set off to find the answer in a fascinating and moving journey that took him into the lives of modern-day slaves and along a supply chain that leads directly to the cellphones in our pockets. What he discovered is that even as it destroys individuals, families, and communities, new forms of slavery that proliferate in the world’s lawless zones also pose a grave threat to the environment. Simply put, modern-day slavery is destroying the planet.
The product of seven years of travel and research, Blood and Earth brings us dramatic stories from the world’s most beautiful and tragic places, the environmental and human-rights hotspots where this crisis is concentrated. But it also tells the stories of some of the most common products we all consume—from computers to shrimp to jewelry—whose origins are found in these same places.
Blood and Earth calls on us to recognize the grievous harm we have done to one another, put an end to it, and recommit to repairing the world. This is a clear-eyed and inspiring book that suggests how we can begin the work of healing humanity and the planet we share.
Praise for Blood and Earth
“A heart-wrenching narrative . . . Weaving together interviews, history, and statistics, the author shines a light on how the poverty, chaos, wars, and government corruption create the perfect storm where slavery flourishes and environmental destruction follows. . . . A clear-eyed account of man’s inhumanity to man and Earth. Read it to get informed, and then take action.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“[An] exposé of the global economy’s ‘deadly dance’ between slavery and environmental disaster . . . Based on extensive travels through eastern Congo’s mineral mines, Bangladeshi fisheries, Ghanian gold mines, and Brazilian forests, Bales reveals the appalling truth in graphic detail. . . . Readers will be deeply disturbed to learn how the links connecting slavery, environmental issues, and modern convenience are forged.”—Publishers Weekly
“This well-researched and vivid book studies the connection between slavery and environmental destruction, and what it will take to end both.”—Shelf Awareness (starred review)
“This is a remarkable book, demonstrating once more the deep links between the ongoing degradation of the planet and the ongoing degradation of its most vulnerable people. It’s a bracing reminder that a mentality that allows throwaway people also allows a throwaway earth.”—Bill McKibben, author of Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet
From the Hardcover edition.
The Ball family hails from South Carolina—Charleston and thereabouts. Their plantations were among the oldest and longest-standing plantations in the South. Between 1698 and 1865, close to four thousand black people were born into slavery under the Balls or were bought by them. In Slaves in the Family, Edward Ball recounts his efforts to track down and meet the descendants of his family's slaves. Part historical narrative, part oral history, part personal story of investigation and catharsis, Slaves in the Family is, in the words of Pat Conroy, "a work of breathtaking generosity and courage, a magnificent study of the complexity and strangeness and beauty of the word ‘family.'"
One morning in 1805, off a remote island in the South Pacific, Captain Amasa Delano, a New England seal hunter, climbed aboard a distressed Spanish ship carrying scores of West Africans he thought were slaves. They weren't. Having earlier seized control of the vessel and slaughtered most of the crew, they were staging an elaborate ruse, acting as if they were humble servants. When Delano, an idealistic, anti-slavery republican, finally realized the deception, he responded with explosive violence.
Drawing on research on four continents, The Empire of Necessity explores the multiple forces that culminated in this extraordinary event—an event that already inspired Herman Melville's masterpiece Benito Cereno. Now historian Greg Grandin, with the gripping storytelling that was praised in Fordlandia, uses the dramatic happenings of that day to map a new transnational history of slavery in the Americas, capturing the clash of peoples, economies, and faiths that was the New World in the early 1800s.
Four great migrations defined the history of black people in America: the violent removal of Africans to the east coast of North America known as the Middle Passage; the relocation of one million slaves to the interior of the antebellum South; the movement of more than six million blacks to the industrial cities of the north and west a century later; and since the late 1960s, the arrival of black immigrants from Africa, the Caribbean, South America, and Europe. These epic migrations have made and remade African American life.
Ira Berlin's magisterial new account of these passages evokes both the terrible price and the moving triumphs of a people forcibly and then willingly migrating to America. In effect, Berlin rewrites the master narrative of African America, challenging the traditional presentation of a linear path of progress. He finds instead a dynamic of change in which eras of deep rootedness alternate with eras of massive movement, tradition giving way to innovation. The culture of black America is constantly evolving, affected by (and affecting) places as far away from one another as Biloxi, Chicago, Kingston, and Lagos. Certain to garner widespread media attention, The Making of African America is a bold new account of a long and crucial chapter of American history.
Hepburn and Simon recount the lives of victims during and after their experience with trafficking, and they follow the activities of traffickers before capture and their outcomes after sentencing. Each chapter centers on the trafficking practices and anti-trafficking measures of a single country: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, France, Germany, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Niger, Poland, Russia, South Africa, Syria, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Examining these nations' laws, Hepburn and Simon reveal gaps in legislation and enforcement and outline the cultural norms and biases, societal assumptions, and conflicting policies that make trafficking scenarios so pervasive and resilient. This study points out those most vulnerable in each nation and the specific cultural, economic, environmental, and geopolitical factors that contribute to each nation's trafficking issues. Furthermore, the study also highlights common phenomena that governments and international anti-traffickers should consider in their fight against this illicit trade.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Born into slavery in Virginia, Elizabeth Keckley was whipped, sexually abused, and separated from her mother for long stretches of time. When her master eventually settled in St. Louis, Missouri, Keckley resolved to buy her freedom. She put to use her talents as a seamstress and found patrons among the wives of the city’s elite, eventually earning enough money to move with her young son to Washington, DC.
In the nation’s capital, Keckley started her own business and soon had commissions from the wives of Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, Stephen A. Douglas, and Edwin Stanton. Hired by Mary Todd Lincoln to be her personal modiste, Keckley formed a close friendship with the first lady, a relationship strengthened by the tragedies they endured together, including the deaths of their sons and the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.
Published to great controversy in 1868, Behind the Scenes offers an intimate and revealing portrait of life inside the White House as well as the stirring story of one woman’s fight to rise above the horrors of slavery. Frequently cited in studies of the Civil War and biographies of the Lincolns, it is a must read for students of American history.
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When George Washington wrote his will, he made the startling decision to set his slaves free; earlier he had said that holding slaves was his "only unavoidable subject of regret." In this groundbreaking work, Henry Wiencek explores the founding father's engagement with slavery at every stage of his life--as a Virginia planter, soldier, politician, president and statesman.
Washington was born and raised among blacks and mixed-race people; he and his wife had blood ties to the slave community. Yet as a young man he bought and sold slaves without scruple, even raffled off children to collect debts (an incident ignored by earlier biographers). Then, on the Revolutionary battlefields where he commanded both black and white troops, Washington's attitudes began to change. He and the other framers enshrined slavery in the Constitution, but, Wiencek shows, even before he became president Washington had begun to see the system's evil.
Wiencek's revelatory narrative, based on a meticulous examination of private papers, court records, and the voluminous Washington archives, documents for the first time the moral transformation culminating in Washington's determination to emancipate his slaves. He acted too late to keep the new republic from perpetuating slavery, but his repentance was genuine. And it was perhaps related to the possibility--as the oral history of Mount Vernon's slave descendants has long asserted--that a slave named West Ford was the son of George and a woman named Venus; Wiencek has new evidence that this could indeed have been true.
George Washington's heroic stature as Father of Our Country is not diminished in this superb, nuanced portrait: now we see Washington in full as a man of his time and ahead of his time.
Based on hitherto unexamined sources: interviews with ex-slaves, diaries and accounts by former slaveholders, this "rich and admirably written book" (Eugene Genovese, The New York Times Book Review) aims to show how, during the Civil War and after Emancipation, blacks and whites interacted in ways that dramatized not only their mutual dependency, but the ambiguities and tensions that had always been latent in "the peculiar institution."
1. "The Faithful Slave"
2. Black Liberators
3. Kingdom Comin'
4. Slaves No More
5. How Free is Free?
6. The Feel of Freedom: Moving About
7. Back to Work: The Old Compulsions
8. Back to Work: The New Dependency
9. The Gospel and the Primer
10. Becoming a People
When her mother dies, six-year-old slave girl Linda Brent is sent to the big house, where she grows up serving a gentle mistress who teaches her to read and write. But the mistress’s death brings about a sudden and terrible change in Linda’s fortunes.
Her lecherous new master torments Linda mercilessly, making her life a living hell. Unable to join her two young children in their escape to the North, Linda hides in the attic above her grandmother’s house. For seven years, she waits for the opportunity to flee North Carolina and reunite with her son and daughter in the land of freedom. But when the chance finally comes, Linda discovers she has yet more pain to endure.
Based on the true story of Harriet Jacobs’s escape from the South, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl is one of American literature’s most powerful indictments of the evils of slavery.
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In this first book to focus so directly upon the earliest Negro inhabitants of the deep South, Peter Wood brilliantly lays to rest the notion that the Afro-American past is unrecoverable and makes it clear that blacks played a significant and often determinative part in early American history.
Using a wide variety of source materials, Mr. Wood brings to life the experiences of the black majority in colonial South Carolina. He demonstrates that the role of these early southerners was active, not passive: that their familiarity with rice culture made them an attractive, skilled labor force; that the sickle-cell trait may have been a positive influence in the warding-off of malaria, while a variety of acquired immunities served as protection from other diseases; that their African experiences enabled them to cope, often more effectively than Europeans, with the demands of the New World. He draws attention to Negro involvement in the early frontier, the roots of black English, the scale of black migration, and the plight of slaves who chose to run away.
Tracing the worsening of conditions for the black majority as the colony expanded, Mr. Wood shows how tensions between the races grew and how black resistance evolved into calculated acts of rebellion. The most significant of these uprisings occurred near the Stono River in 1739 and rivaled, in its immediate ferocity and long-range implications, the revolt led by Nat Turner in Virginia almost one hundred years later. Until now the story of the Stono Rebellion has never been fully pieced together, and Mr. Wood reveals how the quelling of this uprising represented a turning point for the turbulent first phase of Negro enslavement in the deep South.
Beyond its impressive scholarship and the intrinsic interest of its material, Black Majority performs an important service by recovering—and bringing into the American consciousness—a portion of the American past and heritage that has hitherto remained unknown.
1. A Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave is a memoir and treatise on abolition written by former slave, Frederick Douglass. The text, first published in 1845, describes the events of his life and encompasses eleven chapters that recount Douglass' life as a slave and his ambition to become a free man. It is considered to be one of the most influential pieces of literature to fuel the abolitionist movement of the early 19th century in the United States.
2. The Heroic Slave, a heartwarming Narrative of the Adventures of Madison Washington, in Pursuit of Liberty is a short piece of fiction written by famous abolitionist Frederick Douglass. The novella, published in 1852, was Douglass' first and only published work of fiction.
3. My Bondage and My Freedom is an autobiographical slave narrative written by Douglass and published in 1855. The book describes in greater detail his transition from bondage to liberty.
4. Life and Times of Frederick Douglass is Frederick Douglass' third autobiography, published in 1881 and revised in 1892. Because of the emancipation of American slaves during and following the American Civil War, Douglas gave more details about his life as a slave and his escape from slavery in this volume than he could in his two previous autobiographies.
5. My Escape from Slavery was published in 1881 in The Century Illustrated Magazine. His fully revised autobiography was published as Life and Times of Frederick Douglass, also in 1881. In this book Douglass describes in vivid detail his escape by train from Maryland, where he was legally a slave, north to New York City.
6. Self-Made Men is a famous lecture (1895). In this speech he gives his own definition of the self-made man and explains what he thinks are the means to become such a man.
7. The Speeches & Writings section contains 6 seminal texts: What to the Slave is the Fourth of July? (1852) - Reconstruction (1866) - An Appeal to Congress for Impartial Suffrage (1867) - Oration in Memory of Abraham Lincoln (1876) - The Color Line (1881) and The Future of the Colored Race (1886)
Frederick Douglass (1818 – 1895) was an African-American social reformer, orator, writer and statesman. After escaping from slavery, he became a leader of the abolitionist movement, gaining note for his dazzling oratory and incisive antislavery writing.
Rather than emphasizing the cruelty and degradation of slavery, historian Eugene Genovese investigates the ways that slaves forced their owners to acknowledge their humanity through culture, music, and religion. Not merely passive victims, the slaves in this account actively engaged with the paternalism of slaveholding culture in ways that supported their self-respect and aspirations for freedom. Roll, Jordan, Roll covers a vast range of subjects, from slave weddings and funerals, to the language, food, clothing, and labor of slaves, and places particular emphasis on religion as both a major battleground for psychological control and a paradoxical source of spiritual strength. Displaying keen insight into the minds of both slaves and slaveholders, Roll, Jordan, Roll is a testament to the power of the human spirit under conditions of extreme oppression.
Centering his book on the Eastern Seaboard of North America, the Caribbean, Africa, and what is now Great Britain, Horne provides a deeply researched, harrowing account of the apocalyptic loss and misery that likely has no parallel in human history. This is an essential book that will not allow history to be told by the victors. It is especially needed now, in the age of Trump. For it has never been more vital, Horne writes, “to shed light on the contemporary moment wherein it appears that these malevolent forces have received a new lease on life.”
Born and brought up in slavery, Frederick Douglass (1818-1895) experienced the horrors of bondage but gained freedom and world renown as a lecturer, editor, and one of the most important men behind the American abolitionist movement. This book is the deeply moving story of his life — as a slave, and as a free man.
Douglass wrote three autobiographies, of which the 1855 edition is the most detailed on his life as a slave. In it, readers are not spared the fullest and most graphic descriptions of the cruelty of slavery. Douglass describes his life on a Maryland plantation: the excitement and danger of teaching himself to read and write, his demoralization under a cruel master, and his daring escape.
In the second part of his tale, Douglass, now a fugitive, settles in Massachusetts and joins the anti-slavery movement. He recounts his travels to the British Isles and his first taste of freedom without prejudice, and his return to America to work as spokesman for his oppressed people. In addition to recording his sufferings and his protests, Douglass also provides a keen analysis of the effects of slavery on its victims as well as on society at large.
Ana Lucia Araujo argues that these calls for reparations are not only not dead, but have a long and persevering history. She persuasively demonstrates that since the 18th century, enslaved and freed individuals started conceptualizing the idea of reparations in petitions, correspondences, pamphlets, public speeches, slave narratives, and judicial claims, written in English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese. In different periods, despite the legality of slavery, slaves and freed people were conscious of having been victims of a great injustice.
This is the first book to offer a transnational narrative history of the financial, material, and symbolic reparations for slavery and the Atlantic slave trade. Drawing from the voices of various social actors who identified themselves as the victims of the Atlantic slave trade and slavery, Araujo illuminates the multiple dimensions of the demands of reparations, including the period of slavery, the emancipation era, the post-abolition period, and the present.