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Sun Feb 17, 2013, 04:33 PM

America's 'Slave Narratives' should shock us


By Bob Greene, CNN Contributor
updated 8:37 AM EST, Sun February 17, 2013

... "If a woman was a good breeder she brought a good price on the auction block," said Hattie Rogers, a North Carolina resident, when she was interviewed in 1937. "The slave buyers would come around and jab them in the stomach and look them over and if they thought they would have children fast they brought a good price" ...

Charity Riddick, 80, interviewed in North Carolina, had a similar memory. "I belonged to Madison Pace in slavery time," she said. She had a brother whose first name was Washington, she said, but he was "sold away." Their mother "cried a lot about it" ...

Stearlin Arnwine, who was 94 and living near Jacksonville, Texas, when he was interviewed, said he would see slaves on the auction block, stripped to the waist for inspection by potential buyers. Women and their children, he said, would be crying and begging "not to be separated," but it did no good: "They had to go" ...

"My father was a slave, A.H. Stewart, belonging to James Arch Stewart, a slave owner, whose plantation was in Wake County," said Sam T. Stewart, 84, interviewed in North Carolina in June 1937. "When I was two years old James Arch Stewart sold my father to speculators, and he was shipped to Mississippi. I was too young to know my father" ...

http://www.cnn.com/2013/02/17/opinion/greene-slave-narrative/index.html

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Reply America's 'Slave Narratives' should shock us (Original post)
struggle4progress Feb 2013 OP
Democracyinkind Feb 2013 #1
dixiegrrrrl Feb 2013 #8
Solly Mack Feb 2013 #2
jaysunb Feb 2013 #3
Solly Mack Feb 2013 #5
Warpy Feb 2013 #4
LeftInTX Feb 2013 #6
yurbud Feb 2013 #7
Blue_Tires Feb 2013 #9

Response to struggle4progress (Original post)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 04:40 PM

1. They never fail to shock me. Happily though, many of them are as uplifting as they are shocking. nt

That is, of course, only true of those narratives that have some sort of "happy ending" (in so far as a happy ending is even possible for someone born as property - the wrongs inflicted surely never got rectified. But the wrongs diminished slowly; and Slavery went with a Bang. So some sort of happy ending was achievable for some slaves, at least when Slavery was overcome).

I think it was Harriet Tubman's narrative, where she crosses the icy Ohio. Rarely have I ever felt so elated by reading as when she described taking those first steps on the northern bank...

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Response to Democracyinkind (Reply #1)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 05:43 PM

8. I am glad the narratives are available for folks to read.

More people who know about those times, less chance of forgetting.

I found them 3 links from the story:
http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/snhtml/snhome.html

whole site is a marvel, btw.

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Response to struggle4progress (Original post)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 04:44 PM

2. K&R

There's an old slave auction block in Muscogee County, Georgia. Almost nothing left of the platform aside from girders poking up from the ground.

No tours. Only a very small sign. I doubt many people know it is there. Hard to get to anyway as it is on a military reservation.

I used to walk around some, sit for awhile, and think about those that stood there long ago. I wonder if anyone knew their stories.

Thank you posting the article.

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Response to Solly Mack (Reply #2)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 05:09 PM

3. Here's something for you...

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btw, I was quite touched by your post.

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Response to jaysunb (Reply #3)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 07:34 PM

5. Thank you.

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Response to struggle4progress (Original post)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 05:41 PM

4. I'm still haunted by a visit to the Charleston slave market

when I was ten. They had ledgers and bills of lading under glass and reading how human beings being sold like cattle were described was a terrible but necessary education.

The knowledge of what slavery actually was should never be pushed aside as "something that's over, we don't do it any more." As long as men with that mindset exist, and they do, we need to be educated about it so we can be vigilant that it never happens again.

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Response to struggle4progress (Original post)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 02:04 PM

6. Recently saw PBS documentary, African American Lives

One little boy was sold at age 7.

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Response to struggle4progress (Original post)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 04:57 PM

7. in an odd way, the violence of Django brings us full circle and opens the door for

another look at the slave narratives.

Before the civil war, some felt the slave narratives were too blunt and disturbing to be discussed in polite company even if read privately, which Harriet Beecher Stowe tried to overcome by referring to the worst abuses obliquely.

There was a similar opening after the end of the Cold War when the press was more willing to look at large scale violent attacks on black communities like Rosewood and Tulsa.

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Response to struggle4progress (Original post)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 06:53 PM

9. Thanks for this...

kick

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