The House of David

"dawnbreak in the west"

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Slaves' War and the freedmens' spoils


In the bookstore at noon 13 July, I found The Slaves' War by Andrew Ward. I recalled that Moldbug had recommended slave narratives, so I checked out the Reconstruction period.

That means we're technically not talking about slaves anymore, but about freedmen now. In Ward, their accounts span pages 254-97, chapters 28-31. Today I have found the primary source, US Congress slave narratives of 1936-8.

I have added the freedmens' accounts to several essays here, including "Ramsdell's observations on the Negro" and to "Delator rule". I also have extracted some observations on the Ku Klux Klan as an independent essay. I had some notes left over from Ward, which go toward the human effect of Emancipation. This post won't be an exclusively Texan study.

Emancipation's effect upon the planters was demoralising. Many masters killed themselves: 260. In 270-1, Ward relates that the freedmen witnessed much depression. Sometimes the slaves remembered this with contempt, as with the white man who walked with a stoop for the rest of his life. Sometimes, with satisfaction. Sometimes, though - with pathos.

Ward offers some witnesses to support any bloggers working the Nehemiah Adams beat (I'm not quite there yet). Roxy Pitts mourned emancipation (259). Cora Shepherd (271) remembers the people wailing, "us won't get no more shirts". The children of slaves bought into the romance of the white men as princes of their world.

But apologists must always remember: that's the women and children. Outside massa's house, slavery had been a world of lick-and-lock-up. On attaining freedom, most slaves broke out in song here as their uncles had done in Barbados.


posted by Zimri on 10:30 | link | 0 comments

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