A Slave No More: Two Men Who Escaped to Freedom, Including Their Own Narratives of Emancipation

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The newly discovered slave narratives of John Washington and Wallace Turnage—and their harrowing and empowering journey to emancipation.
 
Slave narratives, among the most powerful records of our past, are extremely rare, with only fifty-five surviving post-Civil War. This book is a major new addition to this imperative part of American history—the firsthand accounts of two slaves, John Washington and Wallace Turnage, who through a combination of intelligence, daring, and sheer luck, reached the protection of the occupying Union troops and found emancipation.
 
In A Slave No More, David W. Blight enriches the authentic narrative texts of these two young men using a wealth of genealogical information, handed down through family and friends. Blight has reconstructed their childhoods as sons of white slaveholders, their service as cooks and camp hands during the Civil War, and their struggle to stable lives among the black working class in the north, where they reunited their families.
 
In the previously unpublished manuscripts of Turnage and Washington, we find history at its most intimate, portals that offer a startling new answer to the question of how four million people moved from slavery to liberty. Here are the untold stories of two extraordinary men whose stories, once thought lost, now take their place at the heart of the American experience—as Blight rightfully calls them, “heroes of a war within the war.”
 
“These powerful memoirs reveal poignant, heroic, painful and inspiring lives.”—Publishers Weekly
 
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About the author

DAVID W. BLIGHT is the director of Yale University’s Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition and a professor of American history. His books include Race and Reunion, which won the Frederick Douglass Prize, the Lincoln Prize, and the Bancroft Prize. He lives in New Haven, Connecticut.
 
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Additional Information

Publisher
HMH
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Published on
Jan 15, 2009
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Pages
320
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ISBN
9780156035484
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Cultural, Ethnic & Regional / General
History / United States / 19th Century
History / United States / Civil War Period (1850-1877)
History / United States / General
History / United States / State & Local / South (AL, AR, FL, GA, KY, LA, MS, NC, SC, TN, VA, WV)
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This content is DRM protected.
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During the past decade and a half, scholars have increasingly addressed the relationship of history and memory. Among American historians, David W. Blight has been a pioneer in the field of memory studies, especially on the problems of slavery, race, and the Civil War. In this collection of essays, Blight examines the meanings embedded in the causes, course, and consequences of the Civil War, the nature of changing approaches to African American history, and the significance of race in the ways Americans, North and South, black and white, developed historical memories of the nation's most divisive event.

The book as a whole demonstrates several ways to probe the history of memory, to understand how and why groups of Americans have constructed versions of the past in the service of contemporary social needs. Topics range from the writing and thought of Frederick Douglass and W.E.B. Du Bois to a comparison of Abraham Lincoln and Douglass on the level of language and memory. The volume also includes a compelling study of the values of a single Union soldier, an analysis of Ken Burns's PBS series The Civil War, and a retrospective treatment of the distinguished African American historian Nathan I. Huggins.

Taken together, these lucidly written pieces offer a thoroughgoing assessment of the stakes of Civil War memory and their consequences for American race relations. Beyond the Battlefield demonstrates not only why we should preserve and study our Civil War battlefields, but also why we should lift our vision above those landscapes and ponder all the unfinished questions of healing and justice, of racial harmony and disharmony, that still bedevil our society and our historical imagination.

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