"The singing of a man cast away upon a desolate island might be as appropriately considered as evidence of contentment and happiness, as the singing of a slave:"
I think this accurately represents this feeling of in-just abandonment and the feeling of lostness and remoteness that a slave feels. They are isolated, separated from those they loved, under the fierce and tormenting anvil of suffering alone that Mother Nature gives by chance, and the slave masters create by trade. What heartless men would simulate conditions of the earlier times, when humans had not the capacity to defend themselves from the earth, and to exhibit greater cruelty than that even wild-beasts show to man and to his fellow beasts. Surely this shows slave traders as what they truly are. They claim slaves be worth less than them but it is they who destroy their own humanity to be worth naught to the world.
Was is common for slave masters to owns ships or other cargo transports for their produce? I dare not imagine the marches of slaves carrying produce to town, whipped should they fall, stumble or fall behind.
Loved your quote! Your question also poses a question of my own- If the slave owners did in fact own the ships, how would they be captained? Would a slave be the captain as well?
I would like to know as well
" If a horse did not move fast enough, or hold his head high enough, it was owing to some fault of his keepers."
Many people that I know and have talked too about slavery always told me it was as if they where servants. They did a job for free and that was all that happened, I would have never believed that a mer inch off from a master look of perfection would end in violent lashes. This slaves lived in fear, they needed to repeat the exact same process over and over again with their job. They would need to stick to persist rules and needs from a master but even if they did as they where told something was always off. A sick white man would criticize his horse and turn the blame to the slave, no one else was to be blamed. These men, these women, they where sick to the core; they where evil to have stood there with a gleeful smile as they made another human bleed. I wonder what it was like to be walking on your toes where ever you went, to always be looking over your shoulder and to tremble with each deed you did. They must have lived in a constant fear of being wrong, for one wrong move, even if they don't think it was wrong could end them with a scar ridden back and bloody gashes covering their body.
Why did they give the salve a responsibility for an animal, and then complain about how it turned out? If they liked the animal kept a certain way, why not just do it them selfs?
You pose a very thought-provoking question- I do not know why they give slaves responsibility over the animals and then turned around on them... It's worth researching I think, although I wouldn't know where to start.
I agree. It seems like a senseless cruelty to punish a slave for something he or she can't control. Surely, the white man wasn't stupid enough to believe that the slave dictated a horse's brain.
I agree it seems pointless to take things out on a slave that had nothing to do with the situation.
"To what dreadful liabilities was he continually subjected! how destitute of friendly counsel and aid, even in his greatest extremities! how heavy was the midnight of woe which shrouded in blackness the last ray of hope, and filled the future with terror and gloom!"
I found this quote extremely insightful into the labors of a slave and how incredibly difficult it must have been. I think my favorite part of this quote was when he wrote "...the last ray of hope..." In this instance I feel very moved by his words and it makes me feel passionately about slavery prevention.
My question is who was he talking about? Was he talking about himself, potentially?
I agree that it is a very moving quote and really makes you think about how terrible slavery was.
I also find interest in your quote, i'm really glad you pulled it out! He could have been saying he to simplify the whole mass of enslaved men. Its poetic in a sense if he did mean it like that
“Again and again I asserted I was no man’s slave.” This is such an emotional quote, even told in North-ups stoic almost third party like tone. The word choice (As I'm sure Lucas would agree.) is very specif to his feelings and intentions. "I asserted," He says.
A slave does not assert anything. The enslaved man looses his manhood and is forced into a situation where his authorities are un-validated. This quote demonstrates his fight against that. In one quote you see how he has lost his humanity. The instant he was kidnapped and sold into slavery these assertions became worthless. Its scary to think you can wake up one morning with certain rights and so easily have them taken away from you.
We forget that violations of human rights like this still happen. A $32 billion business forces adults and children into the sex trade or into working against their will.There are girls right now all around us, in San Macros, San Diego,and Escondido who are living in sexual slavery. Many of them trying desperately to assert there human will for a better life, to no avail.
Freedom is a fickle thing.
I wonder if there will be a day where all people respect all humans rights, regardless of age gender or race?
I really liked then point you are making where this happened back then and it still happens today, slavery still exists and I like that you are bringing light to that.
Dang, so very true. It must have been unthinkable as to how he felt when he was stripped of his rights as a human being.
It is sickening to imagine having your rights ripped away from you. Love your connection to the real-world, especially since it's not something we think about as often.
Yes. I do agree, although I'm not sure exactly why you mentioned me. That is a sentence that jumped out at me, too, because of it's consiceness. It is able to convey an important feeling through honest words stated simply. It shows his desperation, his last chance at his dignity. His freedom is something that he holds dear, and for his words to mean nothing is hard for him.
And, in response to your question, the answer is no. Some men will always want to be superior to others. I believe this is human nature; that simply due to evolution and our animalistic tendencies, it is our tendency to want greatness for ourselves.
I agree completely. I love how you phrased your thoughts; the entire response reads like poetry. Your grammar is immaculate and your perspectives are mind blowing.
And as for the question, well, it's just so deep and personal I can't even bear to answer it.
"She was free at last!"
This is talking about a slave that died. How now that she was dead, she was free. She died because she was old and no longer useful to the plantation. The inhumane way they were treated made death a wish!
if you were a slave would you choose to kill yourself or runaway with the possibility of getting caught and sold again?
I agree how sad it is that the slaves were treated so badly that the thought of death was actually something that they looked forward to in some cases.
I agree If I was in a position like that, being only used for work and nothing else seems worst then death itself.
They felt like it was their only option, and I think anyone could understand why.
Its interesting how many slaves viewed death as being better than slavery and how many of them would prefer to die than to face the harshness of enslavement.
Book: Frederick Douglass
Quote: "Every tone was a testimony against slavery, and a prayer to God for deliverance from chains." Page 26
Comment: To context this quote Frederick Douglass was explaining why the slave were singing and all the reasons why they sing. In this quote they were singing about wanting to be free. In the first part what I got from it was they were probably singing about the hardships and what they were going through. I believe they probably were really careful with what they said depending on who was around. You probably wouldn't want to be singing mean things about the master when he was there. In the second, or last, part it shows there faith and hope that they have. As slave the don't have much and they only things they really have is hope, faith, each other, and the music/songs the sing. Also looking still at the second part they want to be free, not slaves or "property".
Question: Why didn't anyone see that they want to be free and that they were suffering? Did they ever sing in multiple languages?
That part tugged at my heartstrings too! The way he wrote it was incredible. I wish I knew how to answer your question, but I can only guess. I'm guessing that in European culture singing was usually used for celebration and not used in as wide of a variety as in Africa. And the slave owners would probably punish slaves for speaking in other languages because they could be saying anything and he wouldn't understand.
They sang in Africa. :) But, yes they were not permitted to speak in other languages.
I agree with what you said about the singing, but I think that it can be added that when they sung, the slaves did not necessarily need to add lyrics, as emotion can be expressed quite well in the way a hum is sung.
Book: The Narrative of the Life of Fredrick Douglas
Quote: "The thought of owning a pair of trousers was great indeed!"
Commentary: This quote really struck me while reading this book. It made me realize how much we really do take for granted in life. Just owning a pair of pants was a huge deal to Fredrick, something that we don't even think about being lucky to have. It's so surprising to me that slaves were treated so badly that they hardly even had any clothes. Luckily at his new master's house he was treated a little better and was actually able to be clothed. This quote really showed me how much we all have and how grateful we should be that we have it. It really put everything in perspective to me.
Question: Why do we as a society take so many things for granted?
Yeah, first world problems... But there are still places today that wouldn't be shocked by the thought of someone treasuring a pair of pants or shoes.
I totally agree! We really don't see how much we actually have until someone puts in into perspective.
Great Insight! I almost feel like our society believes that its invincible and shouldn't have to even think about those less fortunate because, well, its not their problem, but is why things like world poverty, hunger and pollution just remain as a thought in the back of our heads. Because it currently doesn't effect us.
I have to agree with the others and that your insight is very nice and I like how you analyzed ourselves in modern day America and directly compare us to slaves who were barely scraping by with clothes.
As for your question, I think the answer lies at the moment of our birth. To be entirely honest, I doubt any of us have ever had to struggle to survive, we never had to scrape by food, or take a dead man's clothes and use them as our own, and we never had to wake up at 6 AM to work until night. The basis of this is that we were always provided with the means for basic survival and never had to work for it, or any of the other things we take for granted.
We do this because like the underwear it is something that everyone has and it is easily accessible to many but to others it may be a different case. It just depends on the person's life and situation it's nothing selfish or anything like that.
Book: 12 Years a Slave
"He looked upon a colored man, not as a human being, responsible to his Creator for the small talent entrusted to him, but a 'chattel personal,' as mere property, no better, except in value, than his mule or dog."
Solomon Northrup has been owned by a wide variety of different owners, and experienced two flip sides of the human spirit. Edwin Epps was the cruel, heartless master. Even Tibeats hated Solomon, but Epps was cruel without any feelings towards his slaves. His actions were like that of a child with a new found toy. Epps made his slaves participate in deprecating dancing and games with a spirit of wonder, that a man would do as he demanded. Like going from owning a goldfish, to owning a dog. Dogs have a higher intellect, and pet owners make them do tricks. Having the slaves dance was just another kind of trick.
How is Solomon found to be a freeman?
I agree he was basically making his slaves do tricks.
I think everybody he was dealing with knew he was a free man.
He also was a man with a wife and kids, that was a strong symbol of being free.
I really liked your real world example.
It breaks my heart how people were treated this way, and it makes me so angry that Epps can have so little regard for humans who have done nothing wrong.
Book: The Narrative of Frederick Douglas
Quote: Mr. Gore the, without consultation or deliberation with any one, not even giving Demby any additional call, raised his musket to his face, taking deadly aim at his standing victim, and in an instant poor Demby was no more.
Comment: I picked this quote, because it shocked me how care less Mr. Gore was with his slaves. It's crazy how much work the slaves do, and they get treated like this. I don't think that Demby deserved to get shot. I think they could have whipped him but shooting him was a little to far, and he's losing workers.
Question: Why was it okay back then to just murder people even if they were slaves?
I think its because slaves were treated as less then people, they had to be thought sort of as wild animals and who would care to much about a wild animal being murdered?
I agree with Matt.
Well like what matt said, they were seen as more like property rather then livestock or servants. And of course there was a loss to killing a slave. But maybe, the slave owner thought that maybe with the run away that it was important to make a statement to the other slaves, displaying consequences to running away or rebellion. Something to scare them and keep them in line. Just a thought.
Book: Twelve years a slave
Quote: "I can speak of Slavery only so fa as it came under my own observation - only so far as I have known and experienced it in my own person.My object is, to give a candid and truthful statement of fact: ...".
I found this as a very good quote because i was surprised about more having a comparative report to read, as a story about slavery that judges the treatment of slaves. The author gives the reader place for building his own opinion about the treatment of slaves.
Did he know that most of the readers will judge it as cruel, is that why he wrote it like this because a report takes the reader to think about the text more as about a judgmental story ?
Book: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave
Quote: “It was considered as being bad enough to be a slave; but to be a poor man’s slave was deemed a disgrace indeed!”
Comment: I think this is really awful because there is a hierarchy in slave classes. If you are a rich mans slave you have more power than a poor mans slave. So being the lowest class of slave you aren't just avoiding conflicts with other plantation owners and your owner, you are avoiding conflicts with other slaves who are above you. Its just crazy to think that they fought with each other about who their owners were, when really they were all in the same position, they were all being wronged and whipped by someone who has no moral right to.
Question: Do you think the slave owners liked that the slaves put themselves in a hierarchy?
I really like your question! i think it made their owners feel better about themselves, as if the slaves by doing this gave them more to brag over and to rub in the other owners faces
I do not think the slave owners cared about the conflict between slaves. The slave owners had nothing, but hatred in their hearts.
Do you think that the stratification was put in place by the slaves or masters? It's difficult to imagine fighting over who's the better master.
Quote: "I was now about twelve years old, and the thought of being a slave for life began to bear heavily upon my heart" pg 34
Commentary: It was amazing to see Frederick some how continue on with his daily life having such a huge weight to bring him down. I feel like it will only get worse though and the small part of him that still believes he will get out of this hell hole, will slowly disappear. I hope he will be more mentally grown if this realization hits him because no young boy should face that pain. If I was 12 and something like that come across my mind constantly, I doubt I could pull through and probably just give up there.
Question: Do you think most slaves still had a little part of themselves that believed they will get out, or do you think that part of them is long gone?
I agree with your commentary, Frederick was incredibly resilient! And I think that your question depends on the person and what they've been through, but I know I would have little hope for escape, especially in a place so foreign to me.
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
"My father was a white man... The opinion was also whispered that my father was my master"
This quote stood out to me because I think this is really interesting. If a kid is born with a white father and a black mother, I wonder if he gets treated differently. Especially if there is rumor that the father is the master. Also, if you are the father, I would think he would feel some responsibility for the child.
When a master had a child with a slave, why did they still treat them like they were slaves?
I think the masters treated their own children born from a slave mother horrible because they did not want to own up to their doings.
The white people did not want to own up to the fact that they had a baby with a slave. The people that were mixed though, they were treated as if they have no white in them, even if it was just a tiny bit from their great great grandmother or something crazy like that.
I agree with you I think that its a little bit weird that a father would make his son into a slave.
Quote: “Eliza never after saw or heard of Emily or Randall. Day nor night, however, were they ever absent from her memory. In the cotton field, in the cabin, always, and everywhere, she was talking of them-often to them, as if they were actually present. Only when absorbed in that illusion, or asleep, did she ever have a moment’s comfort afterwards.” (12 Years a Slave page 53)
Comment: This quote addresses two very specific things-mind illusions and sleep; yet, the quote tells the reader that Eliza like all slaves had a life full of emptiness. For all the slaves trapped in Hell, I believe it was absolutely necessary for each slave to play their own mind games to find any kind of joy. Even though the quote says that Eliza found “comfort” when sleeping, I believe that not one slave ever had a sound night of rest.
Question: I wonder how many freed slaves reunited with their families?
I know for a fact that when I am working on something challenging, labor intensive or not, I have to think about something other than the task at hand, and I am not even being treated like slaves were.
Book: 12 Years a Slave
Quote: "He would not sell her then on any account whatever. There were heaps and piles of money to be made from her, he said, when she was a few years older."
Comment: Freeman refuses to sell Eliza's daughter, Emily, despite the fact that he has been offered a fair price for her. He does this because he believes that, since she is so pretty as a young child, she will be gorgeous as a woman. He does this, presumably, because he assumes the lecherous men of New Orleans will pay more for her than the kind, Godly man offering to buy her at this point in the story. This quote rocked me. It made me feel sick to my stomach. How could someone view a child in this way? It's wrong to treat anyone (man or woman, old or young) as property, but treating a child that way is especially despicable. This makes me wonder about Freeman's life and what shaped him to be this way. Not that it excuses his behavior, but perhaps getting to the root of his prejudice could help us eradicate racism and rape. Was it just the way he was raised? Children learned from their parents; did his mother and father treat slaves this way? It wouldn't surprise me, as to say that Southerners at that time were racist would be an understatement. But this seems deeper than that; like, hardcore evil deep. Was he born that way? Again, was he raised in an environment where women were totally objectified? I think I'm stumbling into a bigger, longer debate here (are people born evil or do they become evil), but it's something that I keep going back to.
Question: What made Freeman so prejudiced?
I agree on how this just makes you very disappointed how children we're treated like this.
I just noticed we chose the same quote, and I really like you in-depth analysis. I agree with every statement including the evil deep of Freeman and any slave owner who raped women.
Narrative of the life of Fredrick D.
• Quote: "The fatal poison of irresponsible power was already in her hands, and soon commenced its infernal work. That cheerful eye, under the influence of slavery, soon became red with rage; that voice, made all of sweet accord, changed to one of harsh and horrid discord; and that angelic face gave place to that of a demon."
• Comment: This is a bit later on in the book so SPOILER ALERT! But I wanted to make an analysis on it. We are presented with this character, Mrs. Auld, who is Fredericks new slave owner in Baltimore. He describes her as kind, compassionate, and overall shows us that humanity still exists (not something commonly shared with stories about slavery). She had never owned a slave before and was not sure how to treat him, and he was not sure how to react to her. Which did bring him conflict because she would become upset when he did act the way he believed that he was supposed to, cowering and subordinate. She treated him like a person, rather then property, she even started to teach him how to read. But then at that moment she is corrected by her husband because it was illegal for a slave to know how to read and write because then it would be possible to claim freedom. So the lessons stop. Frederick was not thrilled nor sad about the lessons but he was more upset about the the fact that he was not ALLOWED to read or write. ( In a sense saying that, you want something more when you now that you cannot have it.) This experience motivates him to become literate and then possibly running away to claim his freedom.
Back to Mrs. Auld, this is where the power of owning another human produces corruption and conflict in their relationship. Power corrupts. She was first perceived as and angel but is now seen as a demon. And shows that slavery is both brutal to slaves and slave owners.
• Question: What does it take for a slave to be free? Its one thing to run away successfully, what next?
I always love reading your thoughtful analysis. :)
Book: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas
Quote: The poor man was then informed by his overseer that, for having found fault with his master, he was now to be sold to a Georgia trader. He was immediately chained and handcuffed; and thus, without a moment’s warning, he was snatched away, and forever sundered, from his family and friends, by a hand more unrelenting than death.
Comment: The treatment of these slaves was unbelievable. They couldn't do anything to defend themselves, they had zero rights, there was no problem with killing them (besides money), and they couldn't even speak the truth to anyone without something bad happening to them. All he spoke of was the simple truth. He didn't go off ranting about how horrible his master was or anything of that sort. All he said was the plain truth, and was sent away, stripped of his family and friends.
Question: How come something so small as to just speaking a LITTLE bit of your mind is punishable enough to ship you away from your family? In what way does this give slave masters a valid reason to do something that is so heartless?
I agree completely, like I could just imagine myself in his place while reading the book and I honestly do not know what I would do with myself.
12 Years a Slave
"Then did the idea begin to break upon my mind, at first dim and confused, that i had been kidnapped."
Did free slaves ever actually feel free?
I really feel bad for what has happened to solomon. He moved with his family and then he was kidnapped without them ever knowing, when he was out drinking with his "friends". When I was reading that his "friends" noticed that he wasn't feeling well and wanted to take him to get medicine. He unknowingly thought they we're making him leave the tavern to go and get him treated. With him passing out from the drinks that we're drugged, he woke up later with chains on his hands and feet. I was very disappointed from how his friends could possibly do this too him.
Yes the situation seems somewhat fake, the whole set up and plot. But just to point out they obviously weren't his friends if they kidnapped him to sell him in the south.
I as well noticed what you did and it was very disappointing as you said.
"'You are loosed from our moorings, and are free; I am fast in my chains, and am a slave!...I am left in the hottest hell of undeding slavery. O God, save me!...Why am i a slave? I will run away. I will not stand it. Get cought, or get clear, I'll try it.... It may be that my misery in slavery will only increase my happiness when i get free. There is a better day coming.'"
Fredrick Douglas writes this beautiful, poetic rant while he stares at the "free" boats in the water and in the beginning, compares himself to them. I think this passage is incredible. He is so full of passion, his words are poetry. No one is around when he says this so he lets his full truthful heart out and lets out all his emotion and pain and his new found hope. It strikes me specifically how in this conversation with himself, finds the hope he lost to run away again. He tasted the pleasures and simplicity of the north, and all he wants is to go back. His determination is inspiring in my opinion, and also is his optimism
What would happen if someone over heard this?
I really felt this quote and the passion driving it. It's at times like these that we get a glimpse of the truth. It reminds me of how blandly history has been written, the attempts to erase human nature. My best answer is that if someone had heard him, it varies on whether that character, was good or cruel. He could have been sentenced to death for showing an interest of equality or hopefully shown mercy and that this quote would have lead to a more colorful history book.
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
"They suppress the truth rather than take the consequences of telling it, and in so doing prove themselves a part of the human family."
This quote was from earlier in the book, but I wrote it down to use it anyways because I found it very interesting. It seems like all slaves were treated generally the same across different masters, the "kindness" of them varying very little. You'd think if the masters wanted or expected to hear good things, they would treat them like human beings. Its not a secret that they are treated like animals and they don't seem to mind, so why would they care who else knew or what they thought? I just think its interesting that a such a minor thing got such a harsh punishment in most cases.
Question: Why do you think the slave masters cared what the slaves thought of them?
"Slaves sing most when they are most unhappy. The songs of the slave represent the sorrows of his heart."
This quote connected with the small part of the activity today. White people used the singing "evidence" for their slaves happiness, but as stated by Douglass that wasn't the case. Slaves didn't have anything to cry or sing for joy over, they were dehumanized property. Singing was usually to help ease and express their sorrow, not express their happiness. It's sad that people would use something they don't understand to their benefit, but absolutely not surprising since it still happens.
Were there any "masters" that, at least somewhat, understood their slaves?
I have heard of tidbits of information here and there that some slave masters would treat their slaves fairly as if they recognized their hard work. But I can't provide any legitimate sources to prove it.
"Again and again I asserted that I was no man's slave and insisted upon taking off my chains at once. He endeavored to hush me as if he feared my voice would be overheard. But I would not listen and denounced the authors of my imprisonment"
I thought this quote was interesting for 2 reasons. The first one is that he simply stood up to a white man and really got in his face even when the rest of his race is being oppressed and he doesn't even know why he's being captured (other than falsely being accused of being a slave). A sub-point of that was that I seriously doubt they thought he was an actual escaped slave and rather saw a healthy fit black man that COULD be enslaved. I also have to hand it to him for waking up from a hangover and then throwing insults at his captors.
My second reason is exactly that, that this is taking place. You would think that he would have some form or registration that stated he isn't a slave and thus granted him freedom. Even if he did have the form wouldn't his captors search him and find it eventually? I suppose that due to the intense hatred and racism at the time one of the men would just as easily burn any form of registration or paper in order to make him, and I use the term loosely, "enslave-able" and able to forcefully be put to work. Overall this seems very interesting and I'm curious to know if and or how he becomes free again.
Oops, I forgot my question:
How do you think people manage when their very way of life is broken and are thrown into manual labor, enslaved, or imprisoned wrongfully? This relates to Solomon as he is free one day, and enslaved the next.
Book: 12 Years a Slave
Quote: "He would not sell her then on any account whatever. There were heaps and piles of money to be made from her, he said, when she was a few years older"
Comment: When Freeman refuses to sell Emily (Eliza's daughter) besides the fact that he was offered a fair price. This quote sickens me, selling humans, with no acknowledgement to feelings is barbaric. Reading Solomon's description of Eliza and Emily's anguish is heartbreaking. The fact that Emily was also going to be sold when she was older for a higher price, due to her beauty made me sick to my stomach. From what we have learned it is almost unimaginable what she had to put with from the men.
Question: Do Eliza and Emily ever see each other again, and are they sold to plantations close together?
B: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas
Q:He did nothing reluctantly, no matter how disagreeable; always at his post, never inconsistent.
C: This would be one of the worst people to have as an overseer, Never reluctant to whip, lash or harm you in any way. I do not know how anyone could be so heartless as to not be reluctant to do something so horrible to another human being, even though they were considered property at the time.
Q:How could a human be so cruel to one of our own kind?
Quote: "They made oath to certain facts showing I was a free man. A paper was drawn up and handed us, with the direction to take it to the clerks office. We did so, and the clerk having added something to it, for which he was paid six shillings, we returned again to the custom house."
Comment: This quote made me so shocked. Because without his knowledge he was basically just sold, he had his rights sold. But he doesn't know that he's about to be a slave. That's what shocked me on how somebody could do that without a care. They made him think he was getting this great job but he's not.
Question: How can people not doing anything about this? How can people be okay with this happening?
Book: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
Quote: "These words sank deep into my heart, stirred up sentiments within that lay slumbering, and called into existence an entirely new train of thought."
Commentary: I thought it was really interesting how Mr. Alud's little rant on why his wife shouldn't teach slaves to read had such an impact on Frederick. It was kind of a turning point for him where he saw what being educated could do for him and became determined to. He saw that one of the reasons that white people held power over black people was that they could control their education. Knowing how to communicate has been and always will be a necessity to be an independent member of a society.
Question: Why did he get sent to Baltimore?
Control over education was crucial in slavery, its interesting how Frederick realized that education was his way out of slavery.
I agree education was a major factor in controlling slaves. A slave who was educated had a better chance of surviving if they ran away.
The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
Quote: "There were horses and men, cattle and women, pigs and children, all holding the same rank in the scale of being, and were all subjected to the same narrow examination. Silvery-headed age and sprightly youth, maids and matrons, had to undergo the same delicate inspection. At this moment, I saw more clearly than ever the brutalizing effects of slavery upon both the slave and slaveholder" (Page 49)
Comment: This is from after his master died and it pretty much is a slave auction with the conditions, but at the same time, it is like the slave is property left behind like his house. They came to inspect the property the man left behind and ended up inspecting him. I honestly did not know pretty much anything about slave lifestyle until reading this book. And now that I do, it makes me upset, really upset. It was even worse when I watched 12 years a slave earlier today when it was on tv. The point of that there, is that it took me 16 years to truly realize how horribly slaves were treated, when it only took him 10-11 years. Of course he was a slave, but that was what he was used to.
Question: What exactly are the brutalizing effects on the slaveholder?
"Learning would spoil the best n----r in the world...If you teach a n----r how to read, there would be no keeping him."
During the times of slavery, slaves were kept from education because of their masters fear that they would use their education to break free of slavery. In the modern day, education is key to moving throughout social classes. People can rise and fall in both economic and social classes through education. If slaves were educated, they would be able to see faults In their enslavement. The most prevalent fault and argument that a slave could notice is the Constitution of the United States. If they were educated about what it says, they would rise up against enslavement, so the slaveholders kept them from receiving education.
How many slaves could read and write?
I agree with you, I don't think many slaves could read and write but they probably knew only how to read simple words.
I agree in what you saying, that education is sometime's the most dangerous thing to an oppressor. In today's time, education is important if you wish to go anywhere at all, yet not many people choose to. To answer your question, I believe that an exact number is improbable, because the owners forbade it, and some slaves were brave enough to secretly defy them.
I also agree with you and hesham. It seems they could probably use "context clues"
Book: Twelve years a slave
Quote:I was no mans slave.
Comment: I found him powerful in saying that to the people who held him in the dark room. Even tho he was beaten and whipped he still did not call himself a slave. This quote really made me happy because he would not give up.
Question: Why did other free men that were kidnapped and put into slavery did not do what Solomon did.
I like how he's standing up no matter the risk, but do you think that the risk is worth it? At what point would he just give in?
Like many who tried they have failed, and people are afraid of failure and are afraid of throwing the stone. Unlike the rest Solomon has his motives and has a strong will to do so. He knows that death is at stake but he would rather die for something he cares for then live a life of sorrow.
12 Years A Slave
Quote: "When "in his cups," Master Epps was a roistering, blustering, noisy fellow, whose chief delight was in dancing with his "niggers," or lashing them about the yard with his long whip, just for the pleasure of hearing them screech and scream, as the great welts were planted on their backs."
While this is a lengthy quote, it brings up the honesty that most men will have when utterly drunk. It brings out the primitiveness that all men seem to possess. Either a caring side, in which men view each other as equal. Then, you have the side you see throughout history, the side that promotes racism and cruelty. Even though there wasn't much poetry to this quote, it stood out to me because of how true it is. Even without alcohol, people still possess a good and a cruel side. What upsets me, is that few know how to control and balance the good and cruel.
My question is, will people ever learn from mistakes and to create a substantial balance?
"Mr. Gore then, without consultation or deliberation with any one, not even giving Demby an additional call, raised his musket to his face, taking deadly aim at his standing victim, and in an instant poor Demby was no more. His mangled body sank out of sight, and blood and brains marked the water where he had stood."
I know that horrible occurrences happened during this time, for the collective mind of the white people saw justice in their ways, but reading this terrified, astounded, and got me to think. I know that the world we live in is not perfect, murder happens everyday whether it is liked or not, and even though murder and cruelty still goes on, it is much less accepted then back in the time of slaves, and I am content with the progress and hope it keeps getting better.
I wonder what some of the punishments would be if a white person was treated like a black slave back then? Would there be a different punishment if the gender was reversed?
Book: 12 years a slave
Quote: "Don't cry mama. I'll be a good boy. Don't cry"
Comment: This was said by a young boy who was just separated from his mother via slave trade. He was young, and had no idea what was to become of him, and what labors he would face because of his new master. His mother, who was a slave, freed, then captured, and was about to sold again, knows exactly what is to befall him, and can't bear to be without him.
Question: How many children went into slavery not knowing what was going to happen to them?
I'm assuming every child. Also probably every person going into slavery from Africa had no idea what was going to happen. Otherwise I would think they would try their best to stay away from America.
I feel that all of the children in the beginning had no idea what they were going into since they didn't speak English, and slavery was so new. As time goes on though, I think that they would know what was happening.
“I have sometimes thought that
the mere hearing of those songs would do more to impress some
minds with the horrible character of slavery, than the reading of
whole volumes of philosophy on the subject could do.”
I really thought this quote was interesting describing how the power of the words in this rhythm definitely describes the feelings and a emotions by the people at the time and explaining how trying to describe these emotions with words can do only so much where as songs sung by the people who experience slavery would have more emotion or feeling more meaning and would be able to more accurately portray the horrible character of slavery
My question is what was the form of communication that they used to make the songs was it something that one person just started doing the rest picked up on or did they have a talk one night and was like let's make a song
I think that they made songs up as they went to help pass time. I also think that they didn't start making songs and singing them at the plantations first. I feel like it started before that because I remember something from class that we read that said they would sing on the boat to help pass time on their way over.
Quote: " When his unrelenting arms grew tired, he stopped and asked if I still insisted I was a free man. I did insist upon it, and then the blows were renewed, faster and more energetically, if possible, than before. When again tired, he would repeat the same question, and receive the same answer"
Comment: This shows how tough Solomon Northup was. It showed he was persistent and his will was hard to break. It also made me think weather or not butch knew he was a freeman and just wanted him to stop because he had just bought him.
Question: If you were in Solomon's position would you have, A: admitted you were a slave immediately to avoid the beating, or B: Take the beating and fight for what you know is true.
Quote: "There I was, entirely alone, in a thick wood, in a place new to me. My cart shattered, my oxen were entangled among the young tress, and there was no one to help me. After a long spell of effort, I succeeded in getting my cart rightend, my oxen detangled, and again yoked to the cart."
Comment: This quote to me struck a lot deeper than his intended meaning. To me its symbolizing motivation he has for change, Fredrick didn't like what he saw so he changed it with no help. This could also be applied in any other context which is why it struck so deep when I read it. However in a lot of cases we do need help, but sometimes if you can do the task with out the help it makes it that much more rewarding.
Question: What motivated Fredrick and why was he so stuck on doing it on his own?
I don't think he wanted to do it alone, he had to fix it or he would be punished. Were you able to get that from the context.
“Mr. Gore was a grave man, and, though a young man, he indulged in no jokes, said no funny words, seldom smiled. His words were in perfect keeping with his looks, and his looks were in perfect keeping with his words.”
Commentary: I thought this quote was really interesting, because Douglass is using all these descriptive details on how Mr. Gore is truly the cruelest of them all. I just can’t believe how intimidating this guy is in the story since Mr. Gore is just so relentless towards the slaves. Throughout all the slave masters theres such an inconsistency of punishment which makes them so deceiving at times;like for example slaves would get whipped when they least deserve it and they wouldn’t get whipped when they most deserve it.
Question: Why do you think that some of the slave masters have an inconsistent way of punishing their slaves?
Maybe it was just the mood they were in.
"slavery soon proved its ability to divest her of these heavenly qualities. Under its influence, the tender heart became stone, and the lamb-like disposition gave way to one of tiger-like fierceness" This qoute was really showing what a beast slavery could turn the kindest-hearted into.It really made me sad because I was really happy that Frederick had finally found a family that I had always hoped there had been more of back then. I remember Mrs. Clark if there were any white people that treated their slaves better than normal, and if they did, how were they looked upon by their white neighbors.Well, I guess that the nice woman was maybe laughed at by her friends for not knowing the ways of slavery and how slaves should 'really' be treatted. This quote answers the question that I had a few days ago in class. Why were city slaves treated better?
Such great questions Tristan and I am glad some of them are being answered in the text.
“Mr. Gore was a grave man, and, though a young man, he indulged in no jokes, said no funny words, seldom smiled”
I think that this quote shows how a slaves life really depends on what kind of personality the overseer has. This is also shown throughout the book when he is moved from place to place and has different people overseeing him. This affects him and multiple other slaves because some are treated very harshly and others aren't as much ,but the problem is that they cant say anything about their treatment. They can only complain to each other and just endure whatever there overseer does to them. This gives me a better understanding of why some slaves were kind of content and didn't want to run away because they knew they were being treated better than other slaves.
Would some slave owners take really good care of their slaves?
Yes, there were definitely some. There is one lady that is talked about in 12 Years...who treats her slaves really well and they all love her. Do you think it makes them better people if they treated them well?
Book: 12 Years a Slave
Quote: "The day she was led into the pen, Brooks had brought her from the estate into the city, under the pretense that the time had come when her free papers were to be executed, in fulfillment of her master's promise. Elated at the prospect of immediate liberty, she decked herself and little Emmy in their best apparel, and accompanied him with a joyful heart. On their arrival in the city, instead of being baptized into the family of freemen, she was delivered to the trader Burch. The paper that was executed was a bill of sale."
Comment: This is interesting because it is nearly the exact same thing that happened to the protagonist. They were both told that they were on their way to freedom and betterment. They were tricked from thinking that they were getting a life-changing deal, and instead they were tricked into slavery. Which makes me wonder how trusting these people were of white people. Why did they allow themselves to fall into these transparent traps? Was everyone just naive at that time, or were these people so practiced that victims didn't notice?
Question: How often did this scam happen?
Lucas, I think you need to try to view the situation from the perspective of the time. What other choice would she have had other than to trust what was said? In what way would she have been able to change her situation?
The Narrative of the life of Fredrick Douglass
"He whipped, but seemed to take no pleasure in it."
I chose this quote because it was very interesting in many ways. I figured that every master would be mean and enjoyed punishing their slaves. But when I found out that Mr. Hopkins was less cruel, and that he did not enjoy whipping the slaves, it made me realise that he does not like to hurt other people, he was different from the other masters. The slaves noticed that he was a good man which gave them the privilege to call him the good overseer. Are there more owners like Mr. Hopkins?
I'm not reading this book, but I feel that from your commentary, I feel like there aren't more good masters like Mr. Hopkins. From what we've heard in class, read, and seen, I think that almost all masters were cruel. I do think that there are something around .5% of good masters, though.
"My cup of sorrow was full to overflowing".
So this was a deep moment. At this time Solomon's life is plunging into despair and there wasn't much he could do. He fully understood his situation or in this case his "cup". Filled with sorrow he had the choice to drink it which would lead to the loss of hope and would leave him in the state of depression. He then came upon the lord and begged for mercy so that his cup may be empty.
In times of struggle we often forget that we have each other and in many cases our religion. Solomon pleads to God asking for strength and the safety of others. Though stripped from anything he is able keep is morals. My question is what will happen if Mr.Burch where to get caught?
"She is never better pleased than when she sees them under the lash, especially when she suspects her husband of showing to his mulatto children favors which he withholds from his black slaves."
It's so amazing that a man can just completely abandon his child and subject them to an incredible amount of torture purely based on the color their skin.They put an obvious divide between the children of the slave and the children of the wife. Although they share the same blood one is shown a life of fortune and comfort while the other is treated like an animal. The jealous wives would often find the smallest things to punish the mixed children over for, and set out to make their lives miserable. Because they couldn't take their anger out on their husbands they would take it out on the children.
Why would the slave masters pursue relationships with the slaves?
Simply because they had the power to do so.
Book: 12 Years a slave
Quote: " He never doubted the moral right of one man holding another in subjection."
Comment: This quote was talking about their master William Ford. He was saying how they were lucky they were to have him as a master. Then by this quote I think he implied that he was a good man, but was never taught different about owning slaves. I don't know in the the south this was because they honestly believed it. Or they were in denial. But it also goes on to imply if he knew/was thought what he was doing was wrong he would probably change. To me I find this very interesting because it shows that slave owners are bad but they do not really know any different.
12 Years a Slave
"...when consciousness returned, I found myself alone, in utter darkness, and in chains."
When I got to this part in the book, it was really obvious what was about to happen. I knew because of the blurb on the back of the book, the title, the context, and from hearing stuff about the movie. I feel like even without all of that stuff, and with just the context, I still would've predicted the capture. Even with that, it was still kind of a shock to me when I read this because (I'm assuming), part of me was refusing that he would be captured. Hearing his story, and the experience thus far, made it seem so inhumane for him to be captured.
Did you see this coming in the book? If not, what was your reaction when you read this?
"The singing of a man cast away upon a desolate island might be as appropriately considered as evidence of contentment and happiness, as the singing of a slave:"
I chose this quote because it reminded me of what we talked about yesterday's class and how the man that we were listening to talked about how the singing was almost like talking, and how the pace/tempo of the song determines how a man may be feeling. I thought this quote was very important to the aspect of how the slaves used to work and how they figured out how to overcome the fact of not being able to talk to one another.
Never having enjoyed, to any considerable extent, her soothing presence, her tender and watchful care, I received the tidings of her death with the much the same emotions I should have probably felt at the death of a stranger.
Douglass barely spends any time with his mother; in fact, he tells us that he never saw her in the daylight. His mother is such a stranger that he doesn't feel any great loss when she dies. Douglass wants us to see that slavery doesn't just take people away from their families; it prevents them from even having families in the first place.
Is there any bond stronger than the one between mother and child?
I appreciate your comment about the prevention from even having family. It's hard to answer the question about a bond because I don't have kids but it's hard to think of another one that is stronger.
Quote: "The poor man was then informed by his overseer that, for having found fault with his master, he was now to be sold to a Georgia trader. "
Comment: This quotes struck me not only because of what happened to this man but that I recalled hearing other accounts. With in my learning it has become evident that this was not a rare occurrence, if a slave displeased his master not only would he be whipped but he would be sent off to a place worse then where he already was. They used this man as an example, he was reprimanded for giving someone his honest opinion which was not all bad, he told of what he thought was wrong and what he thought was done well.
Question: I noticed when I read this that his master didn't seem very upset yet he gave this slave a huge punishment. If this man wasn't very upset about this yet he reprimanded so heavily what would he do if a slave did something to truly insult or upset him?
" a 'chattel personal,' as mere property, no better, except in value, than his mule or dog."
This stood out to me because it speaks volumes as to how low in a social environment that the black man was. The black men were not looked at as men, rather just things t abuse and force to work. It is astonishing and an outstanding point that we are ashamed of in man kind.
“What difference is there in the color of the soul?”
I thought this was a great quote because it shows that in the inside all humans are equal. All humans have a soul and a soul is something that isn't even necessarily part of a body so it can't be labeled with human characteristics, yet a soul is the most essential thing to living life.
Northup describes his new master as “portly,” “repulsive,” and a drunk who enjoys whipping his slaves “just for the pleasure of hearing them screech and scream.”
This kind of bothered me because as humans we can't stand to here someone suffering, like in the 911 video with the boats, the people that had a boat wanted to help cuz they couldn't handle hearing people suffer it's just human nature. It's just very weird to know that there are people that enjoy hearing people suffer it makes me want to do something.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.