Skip to comments.Slavery, and what happened when the "Yankees" came
Posted on 06/07/2002 5:29:32 AM PDT by TexConfederate1861
By Al Hester
Editor's Note: During the Depression, the Works Progress Administration was formed to give out-of-work Americans useful tasks, paying them enough to put food on the table. The Federal Writers Project used ''white collar workers'' and writers to produce the acclaimed American Guides series. A little-known facet of the Federal Writers Project was the American Life Histories which consisted of about 4,900 interviews with Americans, black and white, and how they remembered their lives.
In the Athens area, four interviewers were hired, and they interviewed nearly 40 residents, both black and white. The manuscripts were never published, as the WPA program ended during World War II.
The following interview excerpt was conducted on Nov. 7, 1939, with the Rev. Alonzo Powers, a former slave. Powers was living on Rural Route #1 on the Danielsville Road, outside Athens, when Mrs. Ina B. Hawkes interviewed him. Powers was almost certainly a son of the famous quilter Harriet Powers, even though that link hasn't been proven. They lived in the same part of the county--Sandy Creek--and he was the first clerk of New Grove Baptist Church, where Harriet Powers was a member. Dialect conversation has been edited in standard English, and the use of the ''N-word'' by African Americans in their conversations about themselves, has been changed.
In talking to the owner of a tourist camp one day, I asked the whereabouts of a Negro by the name of Lonnie Pondly (Alonzo Powers). The owner replied, ''Yes, he lives in the third house down that lane. You know he is a preacher?''
I didn't, and then added that I would be glad to have the chance to talk to a colored preacher. I went down the white, sandy lane and found a two-room house. It had no front yard, no grass or trees for shade and no porch. I knocked on the door and a man answered. ''Who do you want to see?'' he asked. I told him that I wanted to see Lonnie Pondly. I heard a door shut, and I saw an old man walking around the house. ''Yes Ma'am, this is Lonnie Pondly,'' he volunteered. ''Good morning, Uncle!'' I said. ''Do you have a little time to spare this morning?'' ''Yes ma'am,'' he said, with a broad smile. It was a cool day, although the sun was shining very bright. I asked him to sit in the sun so we could talk better. He seemed to know what I came for because he said: ''Well, I was born eighty years ago in 1859. I was a slave, Miss. My young mistress and master's names were Nancy and John Lester. My father's master's name was Jimmie Nunn. He lived on the Danielsville Road. My father would have to get a pass from Mr. Jimmie to come to see my mother. You see, they were on different plantations. My father got to come to see my mother twice a week. If he slipped out without the pass the 'patterollers' (white men disciplining Negro slaves) got after him, and if he outrun them and got back to his master he was safe, but if he didn't, he got a whipping. Twenty-five licks was what he would get. ''As far back as I can remember is when us little Negroes was just big enough to run around. Mistress would be so good to us. She would always pay us in some way to help her. She would say, 'Bring me some water; git me some on the north side of the spring so it will be cool' or' pick up some bark for me and I will make some candy for my little Negroes.' ''Lawd Miss, you ought to have seen us scramble after that water and pick up those chips. ''I was born in Athens, Gawgia, Jan. 13, 1856. My father, Robert Wilborn was a Cherokee Indian. My mother was the daughter of a Negro woman and German doctor. There were 15 child'un of us, twelve boys and three girls. Dr. Edward Ware owned mother and we child'un, and father worked for him, making coffins for use when any of the slaves on his plantation died, and for Dr. Ware to sell, too.'' --Slave narrative of David Wilborn from Ohio
''My Mistress would not let anyone whip us, not even my mother or father. ''I remember one time they was sending us out to hoe cotton. I decided I didn't want to go, so I pitched a big fit. Instead of hoeing the cotton, I laid down and started grabbing it with my teeth. Master came out and sent me to the house. He said I never would amount to nothing. He didn't let me go to the field no more that year. He thought I was sick. ''Master would never raise over one bale of cotton. We had ox carts in those days. I can remember when it took two weeks to go to Augusta and back with that bale of cotton. ''We used to all go to the same church, colored and white. We would sit on one side. I would always go with my grandma. She would put her shoes in her pockets and when we got in a mile of the church she put her shoes on. When we left she would pull them off and go on home bare-footed. ''You know, Miss, in slavery time if any of the slaves was disobedient, their owner's would hold them 'till the speculators came around. Then they was sold. If the women had children, it made no difference--they had to leave them--or if the man had a wife he had to go just the same. ''I remember when the Yankees came through, one big Yankee come up to my Pa and said, 'I will give you my horse and blanket if you will show me all the old rich bugs (white planters).' ''Pa said, 'wait--let me get my shoes.' Instead of putting on his shoes, he run through the house and yelled, 'Everybody turn loose the horses.' All the Yankees horses were old broke-down and they would take ours. ''If a man wore a vest, the Yankees thought he had a watch. One big Yankee walked up to Uncle Harry and said, 'Take off that vest.' Another one said, 'Let the damn fool alone, can't you see he has no watch.' ''All the time Uncle Harry had it hid under the wood pile. ''One Yankee walked up to Mistress and said, 'How come you got such a big bosom? Give me all that money.' ''Mistress said, 'I haven't got any money.' ''The Yankee took his knife and cut Mistress' dress open, and gold and silver went everywhere. It was awful. ''Mr. Franklin was my master's older brother. The Yankees got him and hung him up by his toes. He would not tell where his money was. Then they hung him up by his neck; he could hardly whisper. Still he would not tell them where his money was. The Yankees yelled at one of his men to bring him the auger. He got poor old Mr. Franklin down and started boring in his head. ''Mr. Franklin said, 'Please don't kill me, I will tell--it is under a pile of rocks in the garden in an old trunk.' ''The Yankees made my mother cook fifteen bushels of peas and three middlins of meat. They didn't wait for them to get done. The peas just got hot and swelled. They took them and left with all the good horses they could catch of ours and all the money they could find. ''My young master went to war to substitute for Mr. Franklin. Miss, it seems as if I can see him now. He called me Ding. He said, 'Here Ding, take this big red apple, and if you don't ever see Master again, remember me by it.' ''I never did see him no more. He got killed fighting. Mistress got forty dollars.'' ''They called old John in to pray for Master. John was a big Negro. His prayer was, 'God bless young Master in the war, and give them their victory and bless old Master and Mistress at home.' ''Going home, his wife Mary said, 'John, how in the devil do you ever expect to be set free and you praying like that?' Old John looked at Mary and said, 'God knows what I mean.' He sat very quietly for a moment as if he were seeing everything over again. He took a long breath and smiled. ''Lord Miss, them was some days.'' ''How old were you at the time of the surrender,'' I asked. ''That's where I began another life, Miss. I was ten years old. (note the descrepancy in age from the 1859 birth date he gave.) ''Later, I come to Athens though. God bless you.''
Al Hester, Ph.D., retired journalism department head at the University of Georgia, is the editor and commentator for a forthcoming volume of selected American Life Histories involving Athens area residents. His book, "Athens Remembers: Life Histories from the Federal Writers Project, 1939-40," will be published by The Green Berry Press during Athens-Clarke County's bicentennial year. More information about the book is available from The Green Berry Press here in Athens at (706) 549-8680.
This article published in the Athens Banner-Herald on Sunday, June 17, 2001.
These people were anywhere from 80 to 110 years old when the narratives were done and it's fascinating reading. Many of them, at least here in Oklahoma, were former slaves of the Five Civilized Tribes (Choctaw, Chickasaw, Cherokee, Creek, Seminole), who came out here when their Indian masters were "translocated" in the 1830s. More often than not, you will read quite a different story than what you learned in school. The northerners were generally a coarse, vulgar, opportunistic lot, interested more with what spoils they could gather than "saving the Union" or "freeing the slaves".
Even if you consider the advanced age of the subjects and that time often smears Vaseline on the lens back through which we view our past, to soften the edges and blur the focus, there is still a substantive difference between what we've generally been told about slavery and what the former slaves themselves recalled. Yes, there will be a few Simon Legrees in the lot, and those are eagerly held up as the brush with which all slaveowners must be painted.
Go to a library, read the stories. Don't read the debates on FR and think you have anything close to an unbiased view (from either side) on the war, slavery, life in American in the 1860's, etc.
Well said bump!!
These interviews have to be balanced with the escape narratives (which again, represent only a small minority) and with the interviews conducted by the Freedman's Bureau during and immediately after the Civil War.
"The slaves are put in stalls like the pens they use for cattle- - a man and his wife with a child on each arm. And there's a curtain, sometimes just a sheet over the front of the stall, so the bidders can't see the "stock" too soon. The overseer's standin' just outside with a big black snake whip and a pepperbox pistol in his belt. Across the square a little piece, there's a big platform with steps leadin' to it.
"Then, they pulls up the curtain, and the bidders is crowdin' around. Them in back can't see, so the overseer drives the slaves out to the platform, and he tells the ages of the slaves and what they can do. They have white gloves there, and one of the bidders takes a pair of globes and rubs his fingers over a man's teeth, and he says to the overseer, "You call this buck twenty years old? Why there's cut worms in his teeth. He's forty years old, if he's a day." So they knock this buck down for a thousand dollars. They calls the men "bucks" and the women "wenches."
"When the slaves is on the platform- - what they calls the "block"- - the overseer yells, "Tom or Jason, show the bidders how you walk." Then, the slave steps across the platform, and the biddin' starts.
"At these slave auctions, the overseer yells, "Say, you bucks and wenches, get in your hole. Come out here." Then, he makes 'em hop, he makes 'em trot, he makes 'em jump. "How much," he yells, "for this buck? A thousand? Eleven hundred? Twelve hundred dollars? Then the bidders makes offers accordin' to size and build." -- James Martin, from the Slave Narratives.
Dayton, Ohio, August 7, 1865
To My Old Master, Colonel P.H. Anderson, Big Spring, Tennessee
Sir: I got your letter and was glad to find you had not forgotten Jourdon, and that you wanted me to come back and live with you again, promising to do better for me than anybody else can. I have often felt uneasy about you. I thought the Yankees would have hung you long before this for harboring Rebs they found at your house. I suppose they never heard about your going to Col. Martin's to kill the Union soldier that was left by his company in their stable. Although you shot at me twice before I left you, I did not want to hear of your being hurt, and am glad you are still living. It would do me good to go back to the dear old home again and see Miss mary and Miss Martha and Allen, Esther, Green, and Lee. Give my love to them all, and tell them I hope we will meet in the better world, if not in this. I would have gone back to see you all when I was working in the Nashville hospital, but one of the neighbors told me Henry intended to shoot me if he ever got a chance.
I want to know particularly what the good chance is you propose to give me. I am doing tolerably well here; I get $25 a month, with victuals and clothing; have a comfortable home for Mandy (the folks here call her Mrs. Anderson), and the children, Milly, Jane and Grundy, go to school and are learning well; the teacher says grundy has a head for a preacher. They go to Sunday- School, and Mandy and me attend church regularly. We are kindly treated; sometimes we overhear others saying, "The colored people were slaves" down in Tennessee. The children feel hurt when they hear such remarks, but I tell them it was no disgrace in Tennessee to belong to Col. Anderson. Many darkies would have been proud, as I used to was, to call you master. Now, if you will write and say what wages you will give me, I will be better able to decide whether it would be to my advantage to move back again.
As to my freedom, which you say I can have, there is nothing to be gained on that score, as I got my free- papers in 1864 from the Provost- Marshal- General of the Department of Nashville. Mandy says she would be afraid to go back without some proof that you are sincerely disposed to treat us justly and kindly- - and we have concluded to test your sincerity by asking you to send us our wages for the time we served you. This will make us forget and forgive old scores, and rely on your justice and friendship in the future. I served you faithfully for thirty- two years and Mandy twenty years. At $25 a month for me, and $2 a week for Mandy, our earnings would amount to $11,680. Add to this the interest for the time our wages has been kept back and deduct what you paid for our clothing and three doctor's visits to me, and pulling a tooth for Mandy, and the balance will show what we are in justice entitled to. Please send the money by Adams Express, in care of V. Winters, esq, Dayton, Ohio. If you fail to pay us for faithful labors in the past we can have little faith in your promises in the future. We trust the good Maker has opened your eyes to the wrongs which you and your fathers have done to me and my fathers, in making us toil for you for generations without recompense. Here I draw my wages every Saturday night, but in Tennessee there was never any pay day for the Negroes any more than for the horses and cows. Surely there will be a day of reckoning for those who defraud the laborer of his hire.
In answering this letter please state if there would be any safety for my Milly and Jane, who are now grown up and both good- looking girls. You know how it was with Matilda and Catherine. I would rather stay here and starve and die if it comes to that than have my girls brought to shame by the violence and wickedness of their young masters. You will also please state if there has been any schools opened for the colored children in your neighborhood, the great desire of my life now is to give my children an education, and have them form virtuous habits.
P.S.- - Say howdy to George Carter, and thank him for taking the pistol from you when you were shooting at me.
From your old servant,
From Cincinnati Commercial, reprinted in New York Tribune, August 22, 1865.
Up from Slavery: An Autobiography. 1901.
XIV. The Atlanta Exposition Address
* * * *
To those of the white race who look to the incoming of those of foreign birth and strange tongue and habits for the prosperity of the South, were I permitted I would repeat what I say to my own race, Cast down your bucket where you are. Cast it down among the eight millions of Negroes whose habits you know, whose fidelity and love you have tested in days when to have proved treacherous meant the ruin of your firesides. Cast down your bucket among these people who have, without strikes and labour wars, tilled your fields, cleared your forests, builded your railroads and cities, and brought forth treasures from the bowels of the earth, and helped make possible this magnificent representation of the progress of the South. Casting down your bucket among my people, helping and encouraging them as you are doing on these grounds, and to education of head, hand, and heart, you will find that they will buy your surplus land, make blossom the waste places in your fields, and run your factories. While doing this, you can be sure in the future, as in the past, that you and your families will be surrounded by the most patient, faithful, law-abiding, and unresentful people that the world has seen. As we have proved our loyalty to you in the past, in nursing your children, watching by the sick-bed of your mothers and fathers, and often following them with tear-dimmed eyes to their graves, so in the future, in our humble way, we shall stand by you with a devotion that no foreigner can approach, ready to lay down our lives, if need be, in defence of yours , interlacing our industrial, commercial, civil, and religious life with yours in a way that shall make the interests of both races one.
Freedman's Bureau. Would that have been set up by the same folks that Tocqueville was speaking of here? And Non, you full well know the Slave Narratives have less good words to say about the north than they do the South. You want to post everyone of them? Go ahead. I'm sure we can find plenty of those narratives that don't hold the northern soldiers and their fight in very high regard not to mention a few that speak of fighting for the women and children left behind and brutally attacked by the northern invasion forces
Watch the detractors on this thread try to dispute these actual accounts as told by former slaves.
The legislation of the Southern states with regard to slaves presents at the present day such unparalleled atrocities as suffice to show that the laws of humanity have been totally perverted, and to betray the desperate position of the community in which that legislation has been promulgated. The Americans of this portion of the Union have not, indeed, augmented the hardships of slavery; on the contrary, they have bettered the physical condition of the slaves. The only means by which the ancients maintained slavery were fetters and death; the Americans of the South of the Union have discovered more intellectual securities for the duration of their power. They have employed their despotism and their violence against the human mind. In antiquity precautions were taken to prevent the slave from breaking his chains; at the present day measures are adopted to deprive him even of the desire for freedom. The ancients kept the bodies of their slaves in bondage, but placed no restraint upon the mind and no check upon eduction; and they acted consistently with their established principle, since a natural termination of slavery then existed, and one day or other the slave might be set free and become the equal of his master. But the Americans of the South, who do not admit that the Negroes can ever be commingled with themselves, have forbidden them, under severe penalties, to be taught to read or write; and as they will not raise them to their own level, they sink them as nearly as possible to that of the brutes.
"After the South had been conquered by war and humiliated and impoverished by peace, there appeared still to remain something which made the South different -- something intangible, incomprehensible, in the realm of the spirit. That too must be invaded and destroyed; so there commenced a second war of conquest, the conquest of the Southern mind, calculated to remake every Southern opinion, to impose the Northern way of life and thought upon the South, write "error" across the pages of Southern history which were out of keeping with the Northern legend, and set the rising and unborn generations upon stools of everlasting repentance." -- Frank Lawrence Owsley
Thanks for your kind words....
Somebody needs to stand up for the TRUTH....!
I wonder how many of those LOYAL white people were CARPETBAGGERS & SCALLAWAGS!?
Hint it's not in the north!!
These men were not foreigners, they were brothers
10193 12 Alabama Ila B. Prine
Ira S. Jordan
"Aunt" Charity Anderson. (Ex-slave) Charity Anderson, who believes she is 101 years old, was born at Bell's Landing on the Alabama River, where her owner, Leslie Johnson, operated a wood-yard, which supplied fuel to the river steamers, and a tavern where travelers whiled away the delays of a dubious riverboat schedule.
Rheumatic and weak, she no longer ventures from her house in Toulminville, on the outskirts of Mobile, but sits with her turbaned head and bespectacled eyes rocking the long hours away in a creaky old chair and knitting or sewing, or just gazing into a past painted by the crackling flames in the fireplace.
"I has so much trouble gittin' up and down de steps and ober de groun', I jist makes myself happy heah, cause,-thank de Lawd-I'se on Zion's March," is her resigned comment.
"Missy, peoples don't live now; and [deleted] ain't got no manners, and doan' know nothin' 'bout waitin' on folks. I kin remember de days when I was one of de house servants. Dere was six of us in de ole Massa's house-me, Sarai, Lou, Hester, Jerry and Joe. Us did'n' know nothin' but good times den. My job was lookin' atter de corner table whar nothin' but de desserts set. Joe and Jerry, dey was de table boys. Dey neber tetched nothin' wid dere han's, but used de waiter to pass things wid."
"My ole Massa was a good man. He treated all his slaves kind, and took good kere of 'em. But, honey, all de white folks wan't good to dere slaves, I's seen po' [deleted] 'mos' tore up by dogs and whupped 'tell dey bled w'en dey did'n' do lak de white folks say. But, thank de Lawd, I had good white folks and dey sho' did trus' me, too. I had charge of all de keys to de house, and I waited on de Missis' and de chillun. I laid out all de clo'se on Sat'dy night, and den Sunday mawnin's I'd pick up all de dirty things. Dey did'n' have a thing to do. Us house servants had a hahd job keepin' de pickaninnies out 'er de dinin' room whar ole Massa et, cause w'en dey would slip in and stan' by his cheer, w'en he finished eatin' he would fix a plate for 'em and let 'em set on the hearth.
"No mam, Missy, I ain't neber worked in de fields, Ole Massa he neber planted no cotton, and I ain't seen none planted 'tell. after I was free. But, honey, I could sho 'nuff wash, iron and knit and weave. Sometimes I weaved six or seven yahds of cloth, and do my house work too. I larnt the chillun how to weave, and wash, and iron, and knit too, and I's waited on de fo'th generation of our fambly. I Jes' wish I could tell dese young chillun how to do. Iffen dey would only suffer me to talk to dem, I'd tell dem to be more 'spectful to dere mammies and to dere white folks and say 'yes mam' and 'no mam', instid of 'yes' and 'no' lak dey do now.
"All dis generetion thinks of is 'musement. I neber had seen a show in my whole life 'tell jes' dis pas' yeah when one of dem carnival things wid de swings, and lights, and all de doin's dey have stop right in front of our house heah. "And I ain't neber been in no trouble in all my life-ain't been in no lawsuits, and I ain't been no witness eben. I allus treat ebrybody as good as I kin, and I uses my manners as good as I knows how, and de Lawd sho' has took good keer of me. Why, w'en my house burnt up, de white folks helped me so dat in no time you couldn't tell I ebber los' a thing.
"But, honey, de good ole days is now gone foreber. De ole days was railly de good times. How I wish I could go back to de days w'en we lived at Johnson's landing on de riber , when de folks would come to ketch de steamboats and we neber knowed how many to put on breakfas', dinner or supper fo', cause de boats mought be behin' times. I ain't neber had to pay a fare to ride a steamboat needer. I was a good lookin' yaller gal in dem days and rid free wherever I wanted to go.
"But whut's de use dreamin' 'bout de ole times? Dey's gone, and de world is gettin' wicked'er and wicked'er, sin grows bolder and bolder, and 'ligion colder and colder. Wash, Copy R.L.D. 4-23-37
Alabama Gertha Couric, John Morgan Smith. 9 "JESUS HAS MY CHILLUN COUNTED."
I walked along a dusty road under the blazing sun. In the shade of a willow tree a Negro man was seated with his legs drawn up and his arms crossed upon his knees. His head rested face downward upon his arms, as he had the aspect of one in deep slumber. Beside him munching on a few straggly weeds, a cantankerous mule took little notice of his sur- roundings.
"Can you tell me where Aunt Molly Ammond lives?" I asked in a loud voice. The Negro stirred slowly, finally Raising his head, and displaying three rabbit teeth, he accompanied his answer with a slight gesture of his hand.
"Yassuh, dar her house raght across de road; de house wid de climbin' roses on hit."
"Thank you," I said.
"Yassuh," was the drawled response, and the Negro quickly resumed his former posture.
Aunt Molly Ammonds is as gentle as a little child. Her voice is soft and each phrase measured to the slow functionings of her aged mind.
"Honey," she said, "you ain't gwineter believe dis, but I is de mammy of thirty chilluns. Jesus got 'em counted an' so is me. I was bawn in a log cabin dat had a loft, an' it was on Marse Lee Cato's plantation five miles wes' of Eufaula. My pappy's name was Tobe Cato an' my mammy's was Sophia. I had one sister, Marthy, an' two brothers, Bong and Toge. My pappy made all de furniture dat went in our house an' it Dere might' good furniture too. Us useta cook on de fireplace. Us would cook ash cakes. Dey wuz made outen meal, water and a little pinch of lard; on Sundays dey wuz made outen flour, buttermilk an' lard. Mammy would rake all de ashes out de fireplace, den kivver de cake wid de hot ashes an let it cool till it was done.
"Yas Missy," she continued," I recollects dat I was 'bout twelve or fo'teen when de s'render come, kaze a little atter dat I ma'ied Pastor Ammonds. We walked ober to Georgetown an' it was de fus' time I eber had shoes, and I got dem fum ole Massa. I remembers dat I ma'ied in a striped calico dress."
"Aunt Molly," I said, "you're getting a little ahead of your story, tell me something about your plantation life before the war."
"Well, honey, Massa Lee's place was 'bout three miles long an' two miles wide, and we raised cotton, cawn, 'taters and all sorts of vegetables. We had a mean oberseer dat always wanted to whup us, but massa wouldn't 'llow no whuppin'. Sometimes de massa would ride over de place on a hoss, an' when he come up on de oberseer a-fussin' at a [deleted], Massa say, 'Don't talk rough to dat [deleted]when he doin' de bes' he can.'"
"My pappy had a little garden of his own back of his cabin, an' he raised some chickens for us to eat, an' we had aigs nearly ev'y mornin'.
"De only work I done on de plantation was to nuss some little [deleted] when dere mammy an' pappy wuz in de fiel's. Twarn't hard.
"Nawsuh! I ain't never seed no slave in chains. Massa Lee wuz a good man. He had a church built called de brush house, dat had a flo' and some seats, an' a top made outen pine boughs, an' massa's Pa, Mr. Cato, would preach eve'y Sunday. We sung songs lak 'I heered de Voice Of Jesus Say, an' 'I'se Gwine Home to Die no Mo'. We was all babtized in de creek, but none of us was taught to read or write.
"No-suh, I ain't never seed no slave run away. Us was treated fine. Our folks was quality. We had plenty som'n t'eat, but dem slaves hadda work powerful hard though. Atter dey come home fum de fiel's dey was so tired dat dey go raght to sleep, except when de massa had barbecues. Christmas was de big time; dere was several days to res' an' make merryln' an' lots of dem no count [deleted] got drunk. "When Us slaves was sick, Massa Lee would send to Eufaula to fetch Dr. Thornton to give us some medicine. We had de bes' treatment ever. "Yassuh, white folks, dem days is long ago. All my chilluns done died or wandered away an' my ole man been dead goin' on twenty years. I been here a long time by myself."
"Aunt Molly," I interrupted. "There's one thing I've always been wanting to ask one of you ex-slaves, and that is: what you thought of people like Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson Davis and Booker T. Washington." A puzzled expression came over the face of the old Negro. "White folks," she said after a moments deliberation, "I don't believes I is had de pleasure of meetin' dem gent'mens."
Wash. Copy, 5/25/37. L.H.
Well of course. The ex-slaves must all suffer from Alzheimers, or be insane. To yankees, the ex-slaves are all liars and idiots, and are not to be believed.
Good. All you rebs get on board and tell us how great slavery was. Tell us stupid Yankees what a boon it was for blacks. Get it on the record, so we all know what you really stand for.
I didn't say anyone was "glorifying" slavery. I said they are suggesting that it wasn't that bad. And they are. As for "the source", we have less than a dozen anecdotals out of something like 7 million slaves.
"VARIOUS DECEPTIONS ARE USED IN THE
DISPOSAL OF SICK SLAVES"
Alexander Falconbridge describes the reaction of enslaved Africans to their sale.
When the ships arrive in the West Indies (the chief mart for this inhuman merchandize), the slaves are disposed as I have before observed by different methods. Sometimes the mode of disposal is that of selling them by what is termed a scramble, and a day is soon fixed for that purpose. Previously the sick or refuse slaves, of which there are frequently many, are usually conveyed on shore and sold at a tavern, by vendue or public auction. These in general are purchased...upon speculation, at so low a price as five or six dollars a head. I was informed by a mulatto woman that she purchased a sick slave at Grenada, upon speculation, for the small sum of one dollar, as the poor wretch was apparently dying of the flux. It seldom happens that any who are carried ashore in the emaciated state to which they are generally reduced by that disorder long survive after their landing. I once saw sixteen conveyed on shore and sold in the foregoing manner, the whole of whom died before I left the island. Sometimes the captains march their slaves through the town at which they intend to dispose of them, and then place them in rows where they are examined and purchased.
The mode of selling them by scramble having fallen under my observation the oftenest, I shall be more particular in describing it. Being some years ago, at one of the islands in the West Indies, I was witness to a sale by scramble, where about 250 Negroes were sold. Upon this occasion all the Negroes scrambled for bear an equal price; which is agreed upon between the captains and the purchasers before the sale begins. On a day appointed, the Negroes were landed and placed together in a large yard belonging to the merchants to whom the ship was consigned. As soon as the hour agreed on arrived, the doors of the yard were suddenly thrown open and in rushed a considerable number of purchasers, with all the ferocity of brutes. Some instantly seized such of the Negroes as they could conveniently lay hold of with their hands. Others being prepared with several handkerchiefs tied together, encircled as many as they were able. While others, by means of a rope, effected the same purpose. It is scarcely possible to describe the confusion of which this mode of selling is productive. It likewise causes much animosity among the purchasers who not infrequently fall out and quarrel with each other. The poor astonished Negroes were so terrified by these proceedings, that several of them, through fear climbed over the walls of the courtyard and ran wild about the town, but were soon hunted down and retaken....
Various deceptions are used in the disposal of sick slaves and many of these must excite in every humane mind the liveliest sensations of horror. I have been well informed that a Liverpool captain boasted of his having cheated some Jews by the following stratagem. A lot of slaves afflicted with the flux, being about to be landed for sale, he directed the ship's surgeons to stop the anus of each of them with oakum. Thus prepared they were landed and taken to the accustomed place of sale, where, being unable to stand but for a very short time, they were usually permitted to sit. The buyers, when they examined them, oblige them to stand up in order to see if there be any discharge; and when they do not perceive this appearance they consider it as a symptom of recovery. In the present instance, such an appearance being prevented, the bargain was struck and the slaves were accordingly sold. But it was not long before discovery ensued. The excruciating pain which the prevention of a discharge of such an acrimonious nature occasioned, not being able to be borne by the poor wretches, the temporary obstruction was removed and the deluded purchasers were speedily convinced of the imposition.
Source: Alexander Falconbridge, An Account of the Slave Trade on the Coast of Africa (London, 1788).
God vindicated the Union.
As to Yankee soldiers being truly horrendous, I'm sure it was true--often judgment comes through a people not as good as those being judged... Ancient Israel was time and again invaded by peoples much less righteous than its own, check the Old Testament...and God used them in His judgment on Israel. Modern America should remember this when we deal with terrorism... Although I may be pilloried for saying so, our first line of defense is repentance.
For instance, my ex-wife's ancestors from Alabama owned a few slaves. Every year, during the family reunion, her elderly family members always talked of one of the slaves in particular. See, after the war was over, and he was free to go as he pleased, but he chose to stay. The Langston family was his family, and they loved him. You may be laughing, but it is true. He stayed with the family, and was paid for his work, well into the 20th century. He was even listed in the wills of family members, just a if he were blood related. Finally upon his death, he was buried in the cemetary plot with the other family members.
This man chose to stay, and was endeared by the family, and still is to this day. The history books are definitely not 100% accurate. I guess you may have to be a southerner to truly get it, though.
Then you disagree with George Washington:
"Your sentiments that are affairs are rapidly drwaing to a crisis, accord with my own. What the event will be is also beyond the reach of my foresight. We have errors to correct. We have probably had too good an opinion of human nature in forming our confederation. Experience has taught us, that men will not adopt & carry into execution, measures the best calculated for their own good without a coercive power. I do not conceive we can exist long as a nation, without having lodged somewhere a power which will pervade the whole Union in as energetic a manner, as the authority of the different state governments extends over the several States. To be fearful of vesting Congress, constituted as that body is, with ample authorities for national purposes, appears to me the very climax of popular absurdity and madness."
Washington to John Jay, August 19, 1786
Quoted from "Washington; Writings", The Library of America, John Rhodehamel, ed.
Funny how the neo-rebs have to buck the founders all the time.
Let me get this straight. The Slave Narratives were authorized by Congress. The Official Record of the War Between the States(covering all Southern and northern actions) was authorized by Congress. Both records blow holes all through the myth surrounding the man from Illinois, the causes of the war, and the actions and feelings of the slaves themselves, yet the myths of lincoln and the War still remain. And Southerners are revisionists?
I'm sure the southern slave owners were no more cruel than people are today...and we shouldn't feel superior, just becase we've inherited a slavery free way of life...
The neo-confederates' anthem?
I've said it before and I'll say it again. Scratch a Lost Causer, and you'll find a would-be slave owner underneath.
Beyond that, it's all beside the point. We are talking about slaves. No one--I think--is debating that. What is the point of posting these narratives? Is someone trying to say that if a slave was content in their servitude, then they should have been left alone? If you go to the Soviet Union, I am sure you can find plenty of people pining for the good old days of certainty and serfdom, compared to the hard lot they face now. Never mind the fact that their lot is so hard because of the years of servitude and corruption they have endured.
Not only are the anecdotes posted here statistically irelevant, they are morally irelevant. Happy slaves? This is what they want to talk about? Why? Doesn't it beg the question? The desired effect has to be either to assert that a) slavery wasn't so bad after all or b) the Yankees make slavery sound worse than it was. Either way, the desired effect is to say slavery--slavery---wasn't so bad. And how do we know? Because we have been presented a few anecdotes from people who lived their entire lives in servitude to human masters.
Please forgive my rant.
But the fact that most slaves were separated from their parents in childhood is true. Given the choice, I'd take the beating. Wouldn't you?
Seems like the term "War between the States" was never the official term. Can you confirm that?
I think it was coined by Aexander Stephens.
And of course, the war was NOT between the states any way.
That's why they can't leave poor old Lincoln alone.
He ruined the whole thing.
We have laws against murder, and yet murders still happen. Some people are just evil and abusive. Just as there are a select few priests today (<1%) that are used to villify Catholics, there was a the small percentage among slaveowners (Northern & Southern) that were bad apples.
The point is that ALL SOUTHERN slaveowners are portrayed as monstrously evil degenerates that tortured their slaves. The truth is that few would abuse their slaves, many worked right beside them. The vast majority of slaves were not abused, many earned money, and many profess a love for their masters, which is a clear indication of their treatment. Many followed their masters into the war, and while southern properties were left undefended, few slaves left their masters when they could have simply walked away. Even after the war, the Narratives have stories of former slaves that protected their former masters, or even gave them money. There are also accounts of slaves refusing to fight for the yankees - even when acceptance would have meant freedom - simply insisting that they be returned home.
In 1860, a slave sold for approximately $1K, wages in the war were $13 a month. You do the math - if every dollar was saved it'd take over 6.4 YEARS of savings to afford a slave (not eating or anything else), yet you expect slaveowners to abuse them? To put it into perspective, even at a modest $25K annual salary, that slave today would cost $160K. Would you purchase a Lamborghini, Ferrari or Rolls and trash it? As John Stossell says, "Give me a break!"
The point is that despite the proof - the words of the former slaves themselves (there are several thousand in the Narratives) - their words are dismissed by northern apologists as lacking credence, and are inadmissable as evidence.