1. Welcome to the CivilWarTalk, a forum for questions and discussions about the American Civil War! Become a member today for full access to all of our resources, it's fast, simple, and absolutely free!
Dismiss Notice
Join and Become a Patron at CivilWarTalk!
Support this site with a monthly or yearly subscription! Active Patrons get to browse the site Ad free!
START BY JOINING NOW!

What's been missing on this forum is...........

Discussion in 'Civil War History - General Discussion' started by damYankee, Aug 12, 2017.

  1. damYankee

    damYankee 1st Lieutenant

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2011
    Messages:
    3,553
    The slave narrative.
    We have discussed slavery from the point of view of the plantation owners, the abolitionist, poor whites, Union soldiers Confederate soldiers and leaders, from the view of Lincoln, Davis and from Texans, but I do not recall discussing the issue from the POV of those who lived their life as slaves.
    Although we have seen posts with links to interviews contributed to people who may have been born slaves, those recodings were made of people who would have been children when Emancipation occurred.
    I would be willing to bet most of the members of this forum interpreting the narrative do so from a white POV, and at that, removed from the event by more than 100 years after the fact, influenced by Lost Cause narratives, or as in my case, as the descendant of abolitionist German reformers.
    The challenge is to start a discussion about the topic purely from the POV of the slave.
    Is that even possible without spinning off into defensive standoff?
    The topic strikes such a sensitive nerve, but it is crucial to understanding the entire issue.
    What inspired this post was this song Julie written and performed by Rhiannon Giddens after reading a slave narrative:

     

  2. (Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)
  3. wausaubob

    wausaubob 2nd Lieutenant

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2017
    Messages:
    3,396
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Frederick Douglass:smile coffee:
     
  4. Patrick H

    Patrick H Major

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2014
    Messages:
    7,651
    I think you have an excellent notion here, and I couldn't agree more. My problem is that I am white, with at least one slave owner in my family history (proud of my family, but not of the slave ownership) so I can't contribute.
     
    amweiner, uaskme, mofederal and 2 others like this.
  5. LoriAnn

    LoriAnn Captain

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2015
    Messages:
    7,252
    Location:
    Illinois
    I wouldn't say it's been missing. I know that song from an earlier post thanks to @Pat Young. @Dedej has also started a conversation about how slavery (and the slaves themselves) has been portrayed on plantation tours. Also, we have an ongoing discussion about Elizabeth Keckley in Ladies Tea, and while a good portion of that has been about her relationship with Mary Lincoln, we have started discussing Elizabeth's attitude towards her former owners.

    I do agree, however, that more discussion is needed. :smile:

    Forgive me, everyone, for being absent minded about this, but didn't someone here post links to slave narratives? Either that, or I stumbled upon them myself. Either way, I had to stop reading them at a certain point because honestly...it was making me ill. For me, these must be read in small doses. My heart can't take more than that.
     
    amweiner, Nathanb1, AshleyMel and 7 others like this.
  6. Patrick H

    Patrick H Major

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2014
    Messages:
    7,651
    I think LoriAnn's recollection about the slave narratives might be correct. Like her, I've read quite a few of them on my own. They can be pretty disturbing!
     
    amweiner and Dedej like this.
  7. Pat Young

    Pat Young Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host Featured Book Reviewer

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2013
    Messages:
    20,448
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    Thanks for remembering me.
     
  8. Dedej

    Dedej First Sergeant

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2017
    Messages:
    1,068
    Thanks @LoriAnn! I agree @damYankee.

    Narratives are my favorite things to research and read. I know @NH Civil War Gal - also loves them as well.

    But, most are quite sad. Also, I wish it was possible to trace how some of the people covered in narratives finding out their descendants story. What happened to them? Did they find their families?

    I think just personalization and connection to "slaves" making a conscious connection that they are someone's 2nd/3rd/4th etc Great Grandparents, Uncles, Aunts - can really help connect more to someone's story.

    For myself - I used to just say my ancestors were "slaves" - then I did my tree and I know their names and some of their stories - it really changed everything and how I speak about them and other enslaved people.

    Great thread! :smile:
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2017
  9. Pat Young

    Pat Young Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host Featured Book Reviewer

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2013
    Messages:
    20,448
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    I am heading up to Harriet Tubman's house this week. I think we also need to promote sites connected to the escape from slavery. These are where school children will learn about the brave men and women who escaped from slavery.
     
  10. Copperhead-mi

    Copperhead-mi 1st Lieutenant Trivia Game Winner

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2009
    Messages:
    4,555
    Location:
    Near Ann Arbor, Michigan
  11. damYankee

    damYankee 1st Lieutenant

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2011
    Messages:
    3,553
    I believe that at our core, Americans identify with those who we view as succeeding against the odds.
    The men women and children who braved the transatlantic voyage in primitive ships, to face starvation and hardships in a unsettled land, and those who followed them, generations after generations.
    The African experience is as much a part of that legacy as is the Dutch and English and French and Spanish settlers.
    There is more to the history of Africans in America than slavery.
    One story I ran across years ago is that of Dinnah Jackson of Albany New York, the first recorded free black woman to purchase property and build a house, as early as 1788,
    She must have been a very strong person..
     
    Booklady, amweiner, SJP and 6 others like this.
  12. damYankee

    damYankee 1st Lieutenant

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2011
    Messages:
    3,553
    Another great story of an individual overcoming great odds is that of Benjamin Lattimore, who served in the American Revolutionary War, and was the first African American to establish a school for blacks,
    Someone should make a movie about this man, he is a true hero

     
  13. damYankee

    damYankee 1st Lieutenant

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2011
    Messages:
    3,553
    Another African American of prominence in the Albany area was Capt. Samuel Schuyler

     
    amweiner, NH Civil War Gal and Dedej like this.
  14. Pat Young

    Pat Young Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host Featured Book Reviewer

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2013
    Messages:
    20,448
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    Can I just make one point. If we want slave narratives and related topics to get read here, we need to make sure that we comment on them. Just "liking" does not bounce the thread up to the top.
     
    amweiner, NH Civil War Gal and Dedej like this.
  15. Pat Young

    Pat Young Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host Featured Book Reviewer

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2013
    Messages:
    20,448
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    Look, some folks will always try to spin it into a Northern whites v. Southern whites frame, as though the opinions and agency of black people does not matter. I try not to get lost in those arguments. Just keep posting from the POV of the black community in the words that they used. Narratives are important to present, as are sermons by black ministers and the writings of black authors.
     
  16. Dedej

    Dedej First Sergeant

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2017
    Messages:
    1,068
    Wow. Thanks for this! She sounds like my kind of woman. I wonder if we are related :smile:
     
  17. Dedej

    Dedej First Sergeant

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2017
    Messages:
    1,068
    This documentary was on HBO years ago - it's one of my favorites.

    It's all Black American celebrities and personalities (Oprah, Ossie Davis, Whoopi, Vanessa Williams, Samuel L. Jackson + more) reading narratives. It's emotionally charged - but very loving and comedic at times as well.

     
    LoriAnn, amweiner, SJP and 7 others like this.
  18. Mike Serpa

    Mike Serpa Captain

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2013
    Messages:
    6,233
  19. Dedej

    Dedej First Sergeant

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2017
    Messages:
    1,068
    As the photo historian Kathleen Collins has explained (History of Photography, Vol. 9, Jan.-March 1985), it shows a slave named Gordon, who escaped his master in Mississippi by rubbing himself with onions to throw off the bloodhounds. He took refuge with the Union Army at Baton Rouge, and in 1863 three engraved portraits of him were printed in Harper’s Weekly, showing the man “as he underwent the surgical examination previous to being mustered into the service — his back furrowed and scarred with the traces of a whipping administered on Christmas Day last.”

    The actual photographs of the escaped slave, taken by McPherson & Oliver of New Orleans, were widely circulated as carte de visite photos. On the verso of the mount were the comments of S. K. Towle, surgeon, 30th Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteers: “Few sensation writers ever depicted worse punishments than this man must have received, though nothing in his appearance indicates any unusual viciousness — but on the contrary, he seems intelligent and well behaved.”

    I have a colored glass slide of the same photograph in my collection, undoubtedly used in antislavery lectures. Abolitionists exploited the new medium of photography, circulating “The Scourged Back” and other cartes de visite. On the back of them was printed: “The nett [sic] proceeds from the sale of these Photographs will be devoted to the education of colored people in the department of the Gulf now under the command of Maj. Gen. Banks.

    Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/04/books/review/Letters-t-ASLAVENAMEDG_LETTERS.html
     
    amweiner, johan_steele, SJP and 4 others like this.
  20. major bill

    major bill Lt. Colonel Forum Host

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2012
    Messages:
    10,106
    There are a fair number of accounts of escaped slaves, but it is not a subject that appears to interest very people on Civil War Talk and is not a popular topic.
     
  21. Dedej

    Dedej First Sergeant

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2017
    Messages:
    1,068
    Found Voices : Slave Narratives The Full Broadcast -Nightline 1999

     

(Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)

Share This Page


(Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)