"They are deceived who imagine that he arises from his knees, with back lacerated and bleeding, cherishing only a spirit of meekness and forgiveness. A day may come- it will come, if his prayer is heard- a terrible day of vengeance, when the master in his turn will cry in vain for mercy."
By Solomon's account, most plantation owners whipped their slaves mercilessly.They must have known, or at least wondered it, the lashes weren't breaking the spirits of their slaves, only kindling the spark of vengeance. Solomon says that when he fell asleep, he dreamed of the day his master was on Northern soil. Other slaves probably felt the same, wishing for a day when they could be on level ground with their masters. Most slaves were probably in better shape and more capable than their masters, if they weren't put in such a state of total submission. Truly, slave masters were playing with fire. Slaves made up a huge percentage of the population (47%), especially in the South. Without weapons, slaves were at a disadvantage, but sometimes desperate people do improbable things. Slave owners had to be careful that they didn't push their slaves to a point that they didn't have anything to lose. Carefully, they had to give them things of joy, like Christmas holidays and marriages. It was a very calculated, but still very dangerous design.
Would Solomon have rebelled if he knew there was no hope of a better life?
If I were Solomon, and I had absolutely not hope of a better life, I would have just jumped into the bayou and saved myself a lot of suffering. I wouldn't even have bothered to rebel. So, my answer to your question, based on my own thoughts and feelings, would be no. Great analysis!
Even if Solomon did not know of a better life, I believe he still would have had hope for a better future; therefore, I do not believe Solomon would have rebelled. Every slave either had to have hope or death in their heart.
"I have no comments to make upon slavery...I doubt not hundreds have been as unfortunate as myself..."
Like most parts of the book, I am torn on how to feel about this quote. Solomon has just been through hell and back; he has been violated in multiple ways, and was ripped away from his family for 12 years! I can't even begin to imagine how hard it must have been for him to never forget where he came from. I can't even remember last Tuesday. To top it all off, the man who caused him all of this pain has been acquitted by spreading salacious lies. But, in the above quote, he still refuses to offer his opinion on slavery as a whole. He admits that it was wrong for HIM to be enslaved, but still doesn't say that slavery is evil. I can't decide if that is commendable or cowardly. On the one hand, he could be trying to forgive the people who put him in that situation, accepting that what happened to him happened and that all slaves may not have it so bad. But on the other hand, it seems, I don't know, like he's giving up. I don't want to demonize someone who was clearly wronged, but it's difficult for me to read what I've just read and not be completely and utterly against slavery as a whole. Not just for mean masters, but for everyone! Maybe he was against it, but he just didn't want to say so at the time. That seems like it would make sense, as this was published when slavery was still an institution. But Frederick Douglass' book was published years earlier, and I take it he offered his opinion of slavery pretty clearly. I don't know, am I interpreting this wrong?
Why would Solomon NOT want to offer an opinion on slavery? Is it commendable or deplorable? Was it out of fear or forgiveness?
*Malicious, not salacious
I believe the book spells out the Hell of slavery and that no commentary is necessary. I agree with Solomon's choice.
I think he wants his story to speak for itself.
Beautiful quote, beautiful insights. I totally agree with your statements and no, I do not believe you are interpreting this wrong.
"I also gave Bob a violent shake, and asked him if he intended to sleep till noon, saying master would be up before the mules were fed. He knew right well the consequence that would follow such an event, and, jumping on his feet, was at the horse-pasture in a twinkling."
This is a really good example for seeing how drilled slaves had been because of they only knew what would be the "consequence" of making a clanger. The biggest problem with this was that they didn't even know about what was a clanger. Therefor they had to be really carefully and kind of had to anticipate what their master wanted from them in order to not get punished.
For me this Quote shows again how cruel slavery was.
Did slaves evan have the slightest chance to not get punished.
Depends on the master, their location (city, state), and the type of offence.
I think it was very rare that slaves didn't actually ever get punished by their masters.
I think that it all depends on what the slave did, and how kind the master was feeling.
I think slavery itself was the punishment, and everything else was extra.
Slavery is just cruel. Everytime I think about it in depth, I get really sad and picture myself as a slave. I am a dramatic person, and feel like I'm going to die when I do something as simple as like walking into a piece of furniture, or stubbing my toe.
"I again tried, and succeeded in gaining my feet; but, stooping to get the tub with which I was feeding the fan, I again staggered and fell. While down in this situation, Mr. Covey took up the hickory slat with which Hughes had been striking off the half-bushel measure, and with it gave me a heavy blow upon the head, making a large wound, and the blood ran freely; and with this again told me to get up. I made no effort to comply, having now made up my mind to let him do his worst."
Did slave masters think their slaves to be invincible? At least that is what I'm getting from this quote and the multitudes of other horror stories on the treatment of slaves. This whole book are jumped from one brutal lashing to another. Without proper medical care at the time, the wounds must have been infected at some point, and the slave would be "unusable" for the moment and may get the other slaves infected too. Not to mention the other kinds of beatings with can easily result in the slave bleeding to death. If the masters held the longevity and productivity of a slave in mind, I think there would be more varied forms of punishment other than beatings.
How many slaves died from their beatings?
Good question. I think if the master whipped them often enough they could easily die!
I'd imagine that the masters beat their slaves enough so that they felt extreme pain, but not so much so that they died. Otherwise, who would they have to work for them? Who would they have as a scapegoat for their misplaced anger?
When masters kill there slaves back then it was like throwing away their money, I think the only reason masters would kill slaves would be either by accident or because the slave broke a really important rule and the masters wanted to set an example out of them so other slaves wouldn't break the rule. They also were in awful living conditions with little to no food to eat so many died of diseases too.
Book: Fredrick Douglas
Quote: "A great many times have we poor creatures been nearly perishing with hunger, when food in abundance lay mouldering in the safe and smoke-house, and our pious mistress was aware of the fact; and yet that mistress and her husband would kneel every morning, and pray that God would bless them in basket and store!"
Commentary: I still find it extremely shocking how unfairly the slaves were treated. No matter how much their masters had, whether it be money, clothes, or food, they refused to give their slaves hardly any of it. I'm sure that if they had their way the masters wouldn't even feed their slaves. It is just really surprising how almost everyone in that time completely believed that what they were doing to the Africans was justified. Everyone thought that Africans weren't humans and that the whites could do whatever they wanted to their slaves with no shame.
Question: How were they so blind to believe everything they were doing wasn't wrong at all?
I believe most people who turned a blind eye to the cruelty towards slaves were money whores. Since slaves are very profitable, money can turn people into monsters.
yea,even the pigs were probably treated better!
I agree with matt, money does turn people into monsters. I think the slave owners got so caught up in the desire of profit, their human morals faultered and they found reason in their actions through their church... which was confusing and shocking in my opinion.
"They do not give the slaves this time because they would not like to
have their work during its continuance, but because they know it would be unsafe to deprive them of it." pg.65
This is what Frederick thought of the holiday breaks slaves were given, He believes that If the masters had a choice they would rather not give them a break. He only believes if slaves are deprived of this things will get even uglier. This is just another tactic the whites used to keep blacks enslaved, Earlier in this book Douglass over heard a conversation with his old masters about not allowing the slaves to learn how to read or write, they believe if they were allowed to read this, it would be another step to freedom.
How far do you think these tactics went just to keep slaves from freedom?
Pretty far, im sure they installed new methods to put fear into the slaves.
The tactics went really far, even keeping the slaves from getting educated so they couldn't devise a plan and revolt.
It's terrible to think, but society had already created norms on how to treat "your" slaves. So, I think that when they wouldn't be working like you wanted them to, you would try to make everything like you wanted to, back then you could not write people up, it just went straight to physical punishment. There was only so much they could escalate.
Quote: “Chastened and subdued in spirit by the sufferings I have borne, and thankful to that good Being through whose mercy I have been restoring to happiness and liberty, I hope henceforward to lead an upright though lowly life, and rest at last in the church yard where my father sleeps.” (12 Years a Slave page 217)
Commentary: Solomon speaks of both his pain (slavery) and new found good fortune (freedom). He welcomes a quiet life moving forward and hopes that his final rest be with his father. The above quote is so simplistic; yet, it summarizes Solomon’s path and gives insight into the fact that Solomon tightly holds what really matters in life.
Question: If Solomon was alive today, what would he say about existing racial tensions?
I think Solomon would say that tensions don't exist. I think he was very ignorant of racial issues when he lived as a free man in a free state. And now things are so much better than they were before, and he'd approve.
I think he would have been shocked at how our country progressed out of constant racism to not as popular racist remarks. However i think he would find how the south still has racial issues to be a given, knowing how strong slavery was down there and how long it lasted.
I think that Solomon would see very little to no tensions in our current day life compared to what he went through. He suffered the worst a slave could suffer, so I think that current days would be pretty amazing to him.
Book: The narrative of the life of Fredrick Douglas
Quote: " I was now left to my fate. I was all alone, and within the walls of stone prison. But a few days before, i was full of hope. I expected to have been safe and in a land of freedom: but now I was covered in gloom, sunk down the utmost despair."
Comment: What I find incredible is that Fredrick was filled with such hopes and promises but is so quickly shot down. I think that was a common trait within the book and time period, however what I find especially different is the level at which Fredrick is put to.
Question: Why couldn't they find another use for Fredrick? He could read and write making him more valuable so why would the waste it?
I agree Frederick always has the spirit to keep going and keep moving forward, but he unfortunately hit a giant bump during his slavery for Corvey.
To answer your question, most slave owners thought that a literate slave made them more of a threat than of value. They thought that the slaves would be able to gain power and rebel through education and they would lose control.
Book: Frederick Douglas
Quote: "I spoke but a few moments, when I felt a degree of freedom, and said what I desired with considerable ease. From that time until now, I've been engaged in pleading the cause of my brethren- with what success, and with what devotion, I leave those acquainted with my labors to decide"
This was the last sentence of the book and therefore, a special one! I really admired the calmness and patience that Frederick had when he spoke to the whites about the horror of slavery, even though those were the same kind of men that had whipped him and taght him the hardships of slavery and being a slave. How humbly he talks about himself in the last sentence also really amazed me. He had been whipped, starved etc... and still he has the strength to talk calmly and let only others judge his wisdom of the hardships of slavery and how well/hard he worked and whether he was putting his ideas to words in a convincing way. Definitely an amazing man!
Why did some slave owners starve their slaves even though they had more than enough food for all of them, beacause wouldn't healthier, mor well fed slaves work better harder and be stronger?
I think that it was stated in the book that his owner at the time had come up from deep poverty and was stingier than the other of his owners, to answer your question on a more specific note.
I agree that he is a very strong person to be able to remain calm and face these people.
I agree despite everything he has gone through, he is able to keep his faith strong and not falter to the punishments.
He was probably able to stay clam because he was so broken by slavery.
"If it had any effect on his character, it made him more cruel and hateful in all his ways; for I believe him to have been a much worse man after his conversion than before."
Through out the entire book it is written how men that would go to these readings or camps of the bible where the harshest slave owners. It made me disappointed that this was the case, of course I was never there to I am unsure if this was all around. However it was been shown that from then and even to now people pick at the bible and preach and say what they want to say and hear. It is similar to the current hatred on homosexual people, it was stated in the bible that they where sinners, how ever it stats so much more of what a sin is in the bible. Did these men really think that from one verse they can use it to justify their actions. The Leviticus 18:22 States that you shall not lie with a man as you lie with a woman, the Leviticus also states in 25: 44-46 that you may buy female or male slaves from other countries as they would be your property. The Leviticus 20: 10-16 ask states that a man who commits adultery shall be put to death and yet one of the highest sins committed then was in fact adultery. I find it amusing that people then and still now nit-pick the bible and preach what they think is right with out looking at what the bible states what they do at the same time is wrong. The bible is rather beautiful in some ways and also harsh, as is every religion that fallows a set of rules and the also nit-pick at these rules put down for them. Its sad they must pick the bad verses and statements instead of the beautiful and kind ones.
In the next 30 years what will be the new bible verse put on posters?
Quote: "I have been frequently asked, when a slave, if I had a kind master, and do not remember ever to have given a negative answer; nor did I, in pursuing this course, consider myself uttering what was absolutely false; for I always measured the kindness of my master by standard of kindness set up among slaveholders around us."
Comment: When Douglass was a slave, people would ask him if his master was kind and fair to them. As a slave you had to lie or else if you told them the truth you would be punished or removed without warning. Douglass would tell the truth by comparing his master to other slave-owners, which was smart because there were cruller masters.
Question: Why didn't masters take the feedback the slaves where giving and change their ways? Why didn't people of power come to plantations and ask the slaves and help?
I thought this was very interesting too, and wanted to add the idea of why they cared what their slaves thought of them.
What incentive would they have had to change their practice?
"Upon receiving this certificate, and a five-dollar bill from Mr. Ruggles, I shouldered one part of our baggage, and Anna took up the other, and we set out forthwith to take passage on board of the steamboat John W Richmond for Newport, on our way to New Bedford."
This quote made me really happy. After all the struggles Frederick had went through, and all the anxiety and guiltiness that he had felt for leaving his friends in Baltimore. He had finally caught a break, marrying the love of his life, and becoming a free man. Him receiving those 5 dollars and the letter of recommendation was just the icing on the cake.
What happened to him and Anna after this book ended?
In response to your question, she dies. I don't know when or how, but obviously she ends up dead, for this was years and years ago. I would also like to know how/when/what she did with her life after freedom.
"I have never approved of the very public manner in which some of our western friends have conducted what they call the underground railroad, but which I think, by their open declarations, has been made most emphatically the upper-ground railroad."
This quote came as a shock to me. The underground railroad proved to be quite a success, freeing many slaves in the process. I don't understand why someone would dislike such an amazing invention. However, I understand why he had his doubts and why he didn't believe that it would work.
Did Douglas ever use the underground railroad himself?
He doubts the underground railroads methods, mostly because of their lack of secrecy leading to slave master knowing where and when to guard gates and search forests. He instead prefers the idea of fear tactics, using subtle escapes to make the slave holder fear every escape route possible, making him fearful but unable to stop it. This is primarily why he doesn't reveal his route to the north, primarily to keep it safe from its destruction.
"I considered the uncertainty of life, that if it should be the will of god, he should die."
I wonder what this kind of pain must feel like. It's not a feeling I hope for or I want, just a curiosity. What solomon goes through is so different from anything any of us have known. The only thing that keeps him going throughout the struggles of these chapters is the hope that he might one day see a better life, but on any given day he can be brought to this place where even god comes into question.
I feel angry, that anyone could be treated like this. Whipping someone is a reflection of the whipper, not the whip-ie. It shows that the person doing something like this, with the ability to hurt another human like this is animal themselves.
I wonder if we all have a hurtful animal inside of us?
“They were in very deed men and women of sorrow, and
acquainted with grief.”
I thought this quote was very interesting how so that they got used to the pain, and it became part of their life, it was something that every day they had to bear through so now they're used to the sorrow and it's acquainted grief. It makes me think of the Indians, and how when we tried to enslave them they just internally died as it was described but now I'm wondering how is this any different was that because the Indians refused to work?
I haven't really heard much about the suicide rates of slaves did slaves commit suicide often?
They did try to escape and just give up an example of this would be them jumping off the boat on the trip over to the Americas.
12 years a slave
"He swore that he would either conquer or kill me"
This being said to someone is utterly mind blowing. Especially after solomon had mentioned that a human with even a small amount of humanity, would not beat a dog as cruelly as he did me. I couldn't even hurt a dog without feeling very disappointed in myself. While these slave traders and masters did it like it was nothing and that they were doing gods work. Even though slaves could gain there freedom if they became christian and that would automatically mean that white and black people we're equal. Then because they wanted more slaves even if a slave was christian they still we're not equal and should just be slaves.
Why didn't white people realize sooner that what there doing is completely wrong?
because they didn't care about the slaves they only carried about the money they were making.
White people and slaveowners didn't see what they were doing was wrong because they justified their actions to each other and themselves with religion and other Ideas like it, and it was passed down to other people.
I think that they didn't see what they were doing wrong because It had been taught to some of these people that they are not equal and should not be treated that way. Also, they probably found ways to take out their anger on them.
I think that they knew what they were doing was wrong, but they didn't want to be the generation in charge of stopping something that had been going on for centuries. I mean would you go stop something your father had taught you and your family had been doing forever, if you even had a small hint it was morally wrong?
Because in there mind the stuff that needed to get done got done. It didnt matter how it got done.
"I have no comments to make upon the subject of slavery."
Even after all he endured being kept as a slave he decided that he only wanted to share his story but not his opinion. that takes a lot not to rage out on something that was so unfair and inhumane. I have always wondered how the masters fell when they whip there slaves. Do they feel that the slave did something bad and so he had to be punished. or did the master actually feel regret and after whipping the slave. how could a persone sleep after doing something like that.
Did the masters feel any regret after whipping and punishing the slaves?
Was there a master that never whipped his slaves?
I thought the same exact thing when I read that in the book! I agree with you very much. But to answer your question(s), I think that the masters rarely felt regret after whipping their slaves. It was just something that they did- a part of life, if you will. However, I do think that there is a good chance there are a few masters who didn't whip their slaves.
"When I went there, she was a pious, warm, and tender-hearted woman. There was no sorrow or suffering for which she had not a tear. She had bread for the hungry, clothes for the naked, and comfort for every mourner that came within her reach. Slavery soon proved its ability to divest her of these heavenly qualities. Under its influence, the tender heart became stone, and the lamblike disposition gave way to one of tiger-like fierceness."
This makes it very apparent that owning another human being is unethical and inhumane. She being someone who has never owned a slave and not seeing as many around her as people in the South, she didn't know how she was expected to treat them. She was nice at first, but then became more and more cruel and strict as she felt too much power. We are not supposed to be in a position of higher power over someone else in that manner, and it changes people, just like other forms of power can change people.
Does this prove that all human beings are meant to be treated equally?
I definitely agree with you, I don't think humans are meant to have that much rule over someone else. It made her go literally insane, like a lot of slave-owners probably did. My mom always said money is the root of all evil and I see it again and again in context of slavery.
It's crazy how people who were alive during the time of slavery has the power to be against it, and help the slaves. I totally agree that all humans deserve to be treated equally.
“in justification of the bloody deed, he would quote this passage of Scripture—"He that knoweth his master's will, and doeth it not, shall be beaten with many stripes.” Slaveowners deceived themselves and others into thinking that slavery was natural and acceptable. They did this through many ways, the most prominently they used religion. In the book, one of Frederick slaveowners attends religious services, which leads him to believe that he might emancipated slaves, but instead results with him using religious practices to justify his actions with slavery. This was a trend that was seen among many slaveowners and a excuse for everyone related to slavery. From this, I wonder what slavery would have been like if religion was neither for nor against it.
It is an interesting point that you bring up. Over the last 300 years, religion has always had a say in some of the most horrific things. I find it hard to imagine what slavery would have been like without the passion that religion made from either side.
Quote: I apologize for my appearance. But I have had a difficult time these past several years.
I thought it was impossible to know what to say to your family after you haven't seen them for twelve years. But Solomon the great man he is decided to start his sentence with an apology. Personally I would go straight to explaining what happened, how it was not my fault, how much I missed them, but he just apologizes.
Question: If you got kidnapped, sold into slavery, and didn't see your family for twelve years, what would be the first thing you say to them when you are finally reunited?
Book: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
Quote: "This battle with Mr. Covey was the turning-point in my career as a slave. It rekindled the few expiring embers of freedom, and revived within me a sense of my own manhood."
Commentary: I thought the fight between Covey and Douglass was really interesting because it was a small rebellion in itself; a way of Douglass declaring his own independence. Covey didn't want to get beat by him again and he didn't want anyone else to know, so he didn't beat Douglass anymore. I also really learned a lot from his perspective on holiday vacations and how it was a terrible deceit from the freedom they could have. I never though about that side of the few "mercies" they were given by their owners.
Question: Why didn't Mr. Covey the "slave-breaker" react more harshly to Frederick fighting him?
Douglas was curious on why Covey did not just report him to police, but I think that Covey was pretty ashamed of the fact that he was beaten up but one of his own slaves. So if it went public, yes Douglas would have had to deal with the consequences but Covey would lose respect and his powerful reputation as the "slave-breaker"
^^ I agree I think he thought that if people knew they would think he was a coward and then other slaves might think its ok to beat him up too.
I feel like when Douglass stood up for himself he realized that he had the power to take back his life and shape it how he wanted it to be, not his owner.
Yeah I agree with you, Covey didn't want to seem weak.
Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglas.
• Quote: "I have found that, to make a contented slave, it is necessary to make a thoughtless one. It is necessary to darken his moral and mental vision, and, as far as possible, to annihilate the power of reason. He must be able to detect no inconsistencies in slavery; he must be made to feel that slavery is right; and he can be brought to that only when he ceases to be a man."
• Commentary: This is what a slave owner really wants out of his slaves. To be mindless, emotionless, hopeless, working zombies. To be manipulated and tricked into believing that they are destined to be owned and enslaved. Other wise if not, who would settle to live such a life style right? Thats why they treat them so harshly severing families, destroying relationships and eradicate any hope that may linger in their minds of one day being free. But we know, that they did not back down and that a whole culture and community was bubbling under that would not be torn by simple broken spirits.
• Question: Freedom is a simple term, but why was it so complicated and difficult to achieve? Did people simply just not have morals and not feel any remorse for cruel acts?
"I have found that, to make a contented slave, it is necessary to make a thoughtless one. It is necessary to darken his moral and mental vision, and, as far as possible, to annihilate the power of reason. He must be able to detect no inconsistencies in slavery; he must be made to feel that slavery is right; and he can be brought to that only when he ceases to be a man."
Human beings are not meant to be slaves. The overall intelligence, stubbornness, and the very nature of people just won't let humans accept such a thing. Only when they've been beaten down to no longer BE human will someone be fine with being forced into a life they don't want, only because then they have nothing to want anymore. It's sad that it took so long for some to realize this, that we're all human, but the past can't be changed, only the future.
How does one look at someone with the same hands and feet, who walks on two legs just like them, has a voice, can learn, etc. and just see a colour?
. A day may come- it will come, if his prayer is heard- a terrible day of vengeance, when the master in his turn will cry in vain for mercy."
This strikes me not only because of how potent his words are but it just really details the hatred they had for their masters but It also shows that he has not just forgiven them and he hopes one day his master will feel the same pain he did because he absolutely deserves it. covey was a brutal man and deserves to be whipped and this really details why he wants to do that. I don't understand fully why the white carpenters would be mad at Fredrick?
“My natural elasticity was crushed, my intellect languished, the disposition to read departed, the cheerful spark that lingered about my eye died; the dark night of slavery closed in upon me; and behold a man transformed into a brute!”
This quote was really surprising because this quote in particular represents how Douglass was made into a slave. Its just shocking how slaves were treated back then especially the brutality from their masters. No matter how much resources the slave masters had, they would rarely give their slaves any of it. This is a really good example of having the mindset to revolt against the slave masters, because with being exposed to all these inhumane conditions this provides slaves as well as Douglass the desire to go forth and be free.
Why would the slave masters treat their slaves less than a human? Wouldn’t that just make the slaves want to revolt even more?
Qoute:"A great many times have we poor creatures been nearly perishing with hunger, when food in abundance lay mouldering in the safe and smoke-house, and our pious mistress was aware of the fact; and yet that mistress and her husband would kneel every morning, and pray that God would bless them in basket and store!"
Kaeli used this quote, but when I read it, it just really stuck out to me. This quote just relates to humans on a global scale. Many people that have a lot of material things squander what they have, then they have an unhealthy amount of greed. It is like how a lot of teenagers now are always wanting the new phone, new clothing, and when we do not receive those material things we get upset. It only takes us to see someone else who has nothing to realize that we have something and appreciate the little things in life. To relate it to the story though, it is terrible because these slave owners(some of them) would have beautiful objects, not giving anything to the slaves. Knowing that the slaves saw them having nice things, and realizing that they probably not have anything like that, helped them to have heart and enjoy the little things.
Question:Did the slaves believe in a God, and did they think it was the same ones the slave owners prayed to?
I am sure some had believed in a similar god as the slave owners...but there is always those people who dont.
Book: Fredrick Douglass
"You have seen how a man was made a slave; you shall see how a slave is made a man"
I find this quote inspirational because not only did he get treated like a slave instead of a person (or man), but he is still able to go back to being treated as a man.
This question is just like a general pondering, but would you be able to do that after getting accustomed to being a slave?
"I heard no deep oaths or horrid curses on the laborer. i saw no whipping of men; but all seemed to go smoothly on. Every man appeared to understand his work, and went at it with sober, yet cheerful earnestness, which betokened the deep interest which he felt in what he was doing, as well as a sense of his own dignity as a man."
This quote caught my attention because even without slavery, society is still functional. In the south, the farm owners depended on the slaves to do their work. They were so dependant that without their help, nothing would have been done and no profit would have been made. I find it significant that the north breaks that custom, and stands fully functional, if not more functional and profitable, without the use of slaves.
Was the south ignorant of the success of the north, or did they just lack the knowledge of it?
"Mr. Covey gave me a very severe whipping, cutting my back, causing the blood to run, and raising the ridges on my flesh as large as my little finger"
I thought this was the most painful excruciating sentence to read. The way he wrote it was so nonchalant. Because he was used to that lifestyle, these days we have a broken nail and all we do is complain and complain about it. He is living in this world where whipping are far more common then not. The amount of will and strength that it must have took to just take beating and then the next morning you had to wake up and take orders from the man that whipped you the night before. The way he describes his flesh rising after each whipping, Mr. Covey watched it happen and took pleasure in it. I feel like Mr. Covey uses violence towards his slaves as an outlet to get rid of all this built up suppressed anger he has.
What gave these colonist the idea that Slaves were lesser people? They needed cheap labor but why did they treat these slaves so hostilely? Why did they think they had a moral loop hole and they could treat another human beings so savagely?
I think the slave owners used religion as a backbone for justifying slavery. And I think the reason why they treated slaves so harshly was to break them so they had no hope, and were too scared to act out and rebel.
I find extremely hard to believe how lazy we have become ever since slavery has been abolished. We haven't become lazy in the sense of profit, we just outsourced to China. We have become lazy in hardship, a lot of people don't even know how to do even the basic labor today. I think the only way to answer your question, is that if people reject any positive feelings towards the slaves, then they could justify the "normal" nature of slavery.
The previous was a comment to Piper's post. I just didn't do it in the right space.
12 Years a Slave
"He fears he will be caught lagging through the day; he fears to approach the gin-house with his basket-load of cotton at night; he fears, when he lies down, that he will oversleep himself in the morning."
Just reading this quote makes me so sad. To hear, just in one day, all of the things that a slave fears, which is on top of all of their work and very little sleep, is very disturbing. I think that it's so disheartening to hear all of this about these slaves, and yet they went through this day after day. Can you believe that they had to put up will all of this constantly? Twenty-four/seven, they are constantly paranoid of the dreaded whip. And if they had a cruel master, they were whipped for anything and everything. The injustice that the slaves went through really makes me mad.
How long do you think that you would last as a slave on a cotton plantation? Personally, I think that I would last maybe a month before just kind of giving up. (Try to really put yourself in their shoes).
Personally I would give myself about 24 hours, I was already struggling after about 5 minutes sorting the cotton from the seeds and such. I think that question is really important in the sense of putting yourself in the position of the slaves, what would you be capable of?
12 Years A Slave
"Henry B. Northup! Thank God--thank God!"
I thought that this quote was filled with pure joy and happiness. What has happened is that Solomon, has finally been discovered as a slave. Over the course of 12 years, he endured many hardships. All of them I believe made him a better person. It is a very reflective point of the book right now, because before he was wronged, he had no experience working in hell. After so long, this changes who he is as a person. I can make many connections to this, one being that the people who serve in the military, most come back with a renewed sense for their country and family. However, some are broken because of what they go through. It was overall, a very strong and unique moment in this narrative.
How did these slaves manage to endure Hell all their life, and how did some manage to escape it for an equal life?
Book: 12 Years A Slave
Quote: "Sam's piety was frequently observed by white men who came to the mill, and the remark it most generally provoked was, that a man like Ford, who allowed his slaves to have bibles, was 'not fit to own a nigger.'" (Northup Loc 1255)
Comment: It is very interesting to me how the masters forbade christianity. This was something they were trying to spread so hard, yet they did not feel that the blacks were deserving of it. After reading The Crucible, it is apparent how liberal these people were with the Bible, yet they didn't allow their slaves to have it.
Question: Why exactly were the Africans so eager about Christianity when the Christians that controlled them were so mean to them?
Not all masters forbade Christianity, but your question is one I think about often. :)
12 years a slave
"He swore that he would either conquer or kill me"
After reading through the whole book, I thought back to this quote, And I thought it was powerful. In the context, it is terrifying, but this is practically the theme of slavery. When you look back at slavery it was using people to get work done, and if they did not comply, they were tortured. and if they never complied, that would mean death. So when I look back on this quote, I feel like with one powerful sentence, that didn't really mean much, they said the most important line to me.
My question would be, how many died, compared to how many complied
12 Years a Slave
"I am indebted to Mr. Henry B. Northrup and others for many of the particulars contained in this chapter."
Reading this quote almost brought me immediate happiness. After going from a free man to a slaved man, soon to be a free man again you feel excited for Solomon. After reading this whole book I contemplate the concept of slavery, and even with bible "justification" how could you do that to another human being? I also feel like that it is such a powerful quote in a sense, because it captures Solomon's personality and sums up his character.
I bet that many people agreed that slavery was wrong, even people who owned them: so why didn't somebody take a stand earlier?
"In coming to a fixed determination to run away, we did more than Patrick Henry, when he resolved upon liberty or death. With us it was a doubtful liberty at most, and almost certain death if we failed. For my part, I should prefer death to hopeless bondage."
After years of learning how to read and write and forming friendships Douglass, a now learned man, desires freedom more than ever. Seeing the horrors that slave owners force upon their slaves, Douglass resolves to offer an escape plan to his fellow slaves. however he is betrayed. After all he went through to become a free man Douglass' plan is destroyed and his hope along with it. I feel as though Douglass was the type of person who no matter what the odds, hand the will to accomplish anything. I also like to thing that he was the kind of man who until his final moments would never truly give up.This can be seen when he later goes to become an apprentice carpenter and uses his intelligence and good favor with his owner to escape.
Question: Why was the north "better off" without slaves?
"I have been frequently asked how I felt when I found myself in a free State. I have never been able to answer the question with any satisfaction to myself. It was a moment of the highest excitement I ever experienced." (Loc 1394)
I just find this quote interesting due to him expressing how he felt the first time he was free. After all those years working as a slave, toiling for people who abused you and did not care about you, hearing him describe how freedom felt is very interesting. He lived a hard life, and eventually he got to where he wanted. Douglass also said that he felt lonely due to not having a home nor friends in his new free land.
Question: What was his accent like? This is a bit off topic, but as a person interested in linguistics, very interesting to me.
Book: Fredrick Douglas
Quote: “‘A nigger should know nothing but to obey his master—to do as he is told to do. Learning would spoil the best nigger in the world. Now,’ said he, ‘if you teach that nigger (speaking of myself) how to read, there would be no keeping him. It would forever unfit him to be a slave.’”
Comment: Whoa... I just find it so hard to believe that people really felt that it was necessary to strip the African community of their ability to learn. In the later paragraphs/pages it began to make sense because he started to hate on his masters because of the knowledge he gained from reading, but it really goes to show the potential that resides inside of him and the black community. I also really loved how in the next paragraphs he talks about the difference of his opinions and his master's and how this quote actually became what really fueled and motivated him to learn how to read and write.
Question: What would history look like if slaves had always been given the opportunity to learn from the very beginning?
"Killing a slave, or any colored person, in Talbot county, Maryland, is not treated as a crime."
It's sickening that there were no regards for a coloured person's life at that time. The murder of a slave was completely disregarded, while the murderer, if white, walked away scot-free.And, there was no way to testify against them. Other slave holders viewed the deaths as a result of poor labor, they blamed the slaves not the killers. And, the slaves had absolutely no way of testifying. They didn't have the rights to and even if they did the chances of them winning was practically impossible. It's crazy how a slave would be killed over the smallest things, they were treated like any other animal. If the overseer felt they were "insufficient" the slaves were killed on the spot, like their lives had no value.
How did they justify the murder of the slaves?
The Narrative Life of Frederick Douglass
"I am coming to a fixed determination to run away"
I chose this quote because I believe that Frederick is brave enough to actually run away. It was also interesting how he had other people that would join him. He described how dangerous it will get and how other slaves barley escaped without getting harmed. Frederick also talks about how he is more impressive than Patrick Henry. He relates both his situation and Patrick's, as if they were similar to eachother. Will Frederick actually escape?
Quote: It was rarely a day that passed by without one or more whippings.
I chose this quote because it shows how cruel the owners were to their slaves. To the "regular white man" it would probably be illegal to assault one another, but they thought it was morally just to do it to a slave. They literally thought that slaves/blacks weren't people and were just property, which they could do whatever with. The slaves didn't have rights, they barely had food, and they tried to take away all communication with them. To me I cannot even imagine what that must be like, nor would I want to.
The Narrative of Frederick Douglass
Captain Auld was not born a slaveholder. He had been a poor man, master only of a Bay craft. He came into possession of all his slaves by marriage; and of all men, adopted slave-holders are the worst. He was cruel, but cowardly. He commanded without firmness. In the enforcement of his rules, he was at times rigid, and at times lax.
I found this statement very annoying. This is the true example when fame comes and make you evil and mindless. Some worthless man who actually did not gain a fortune by his own work, is the responsible person for managing destiny of so many people. Douglass said that adoptive slaveholders are notoriously the worst masters. It is very true. You can find analogy of this in real life. Exactly the worst people in the world are those who gain fortune and fame overnight and think now that they run all the world.
When did he actually become a free man ?
"Oh,God!" Thou who gavest me life, and implanted in my bosom the love of life-who filled it with emotions such as other men, thy creatures, have, do not forsake me."
I chose this because Solomon was in a time of despair, with no one to rely on, he shouldered his pain on the Lord. At the same he was asking for God's guidance and to not leave him in the time of need. During this time Solomon is being hunted and is going to be punished with death because he had fought against his Master. We often forget that the moments of life were it seems that no one is there, there is always someone who support us, we just have to look for that help, whether it be a religious character or a friend.
"I was now left to my fate..."
This quote struck me in many ways- as he was leaving to pursue his life as a free man, he thought back on the life he's grown up in as a slave. He also, at least in my opinion, seems lost and out of touch with the real world. He is alone and lost and scared and free, and I can only imagine how that must've felt. As a reader I wanted to appreciate and love the fact that he was now free, but I couldn't bring myself to it because of the way he felt- alone.
Question- what opinions does his slave master have on his fate and how would that affect his punishment on other slaves?
Quote: "He swore that he would either conquer or kill me"
Comment: Solomon mentioned that a human with the smallest amount of humanity wouldn't beat a dog as cruelly as he did me. I thought that this was really important and shows the fact that the way they treated slaves back then was inhumane. I honestly see it disgusting the way lot's of the overseers treated the slaves. They took these slaves from their homes, away from their loved ones, took away their culture, but still treated them with less of respect as any equal.
" I was now left to my fate. I was all alone, and within the walls of stone prison."
This quote stuck out to me because it is showing how he now actually had the choice to live his life and had a choice as to what to do with it. Finally he was free and in that moment he was alone to think about what he would do with his life from that point on. He finally broke free from the shackles of slavery and can finally become the man and the person he wants to be.
Question: What problems and struggles with he have to face now?
"I hope henceforward to lead an upright though lowly life, and rest at last in the church yard where my father sleeps"
I found this to be a powerful quote. It was showing how string a family bond was and what he was willing to do just from love. This was a turning point in the book that I noticed and it stood out as a meaningful point in the story.
I wonder what life would have been like if we hadnt experienced a slavery era.
“I have said that this mode of treatment is a part of the whole system of fraud and inhumanity of slavery.”
This shows that frederick douglas had been thinking a head of his time. This made him realize that he was stuck in the chains of slavery. After he discovered that, he knew he must break them. He did this by trying to escape then eventually escaping at the end. This was his way of beating the fraud and suffering he faced through his life. I really think that this was exception in slavery and that it took leaders like this to bring it to an end.
What would life be without leaders?
"If I had been killed in the presence of a thousand colored people, their testimony combined would have been insufficient to have arrest one of the murderers."
What value is their in an animals testimony in court of law say the white slave holder. They who control their fellow man by stripping their status as a man, degrading them to a mere animal. No matter that it is wrong, no matter that it is unholy, not matter that the very act of degrading other, degrades you in the eyes of the holy father. The fact is that he who is blind to his wrong doings, yet in such a position of power as to be unquestionable to all those that they degrade.
To paraphrase as it is said in the book, the wise slaveholder knows that a black man may not submit, that he must be broken into slavery. And in a sepeate part of the book: A slave work best when he hath lost all hope. When he sees no escape in an forest, sees not gain in his masters house, and sees no desire in his master's wife. When he hath no desire, then he be truly a slave.
Where methods of indoctrination of slaves, used later in history by other parties?
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.