Photograph courtesy of the author.
The whole commerce between master and slave is a perpetual exercise of the most boisterous passions, the most unremitting despotism on the one part, and degrading submissions on the other. Our children see this, and learn to imitate it; for man is an imitative animal. Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia,Query XVIII From the author of the Declaration of Independence we have a stark admission of the contradiction of slavery in America—that its existence required the "perpetual exercise" of inequality among human beings.
Not only were masters to be masters, they were to be tyrants. Not only were slaves to be chattel labor, they were to act as accomplices in their subjugation.
Palmer, "this required knowing and using the proper forms of deferential address for whites, the uncomplaining acceptance of verbal and other forms of abuse, and a day-to-day obsequiousness that whites needed to assure themselves of their superiority.
The slave's perspective of the master-slave relationship is the focus of these two groups of selections. The first group presents statements from eleven formerly enslaved black men and women whose narratives were published between and Harriet Jacobs came to realize that her status as property defined her role in the master-slave relationship: Frederick Douglass recalls becoming aware as a child of his status as a slave—"Why am I a slave?
Why are some people slaves, and others masters? And James Curry asserts in his narrative that, no matter how ignorant masters kept their slaves, it was "impossible to beat it into them that they were made to be slaves. The second group deals with one of the cruelest hardships endured by enslaved African Americans—sexual abuse by their slaveholders, overseers, and other white men and women whose power to dominate them was complete.
Anderson in his narrative, ". Masters forcibly paired "good breeders" to produce strong children they could sell at a high price. Berry, a scholar of African American history, "where powerless enslaved males and females became the victims of reproductive abuse to which they did not willingly give their consent.
These selections are drawn from the nineteenth-century published narratives as well as the twentieth-century interviews of former slaves compiled in the s by the Works Progress Administration WPA Slave Narrative Project.
A recurring theme in these selections is the dehumanizing effect of slavery on both slave and master—the slave due to his being oppressed, the master due to his power to oppress.
Discussion questions In these readings, how and when did the enslaved become aware of their place in the master-slave relationship? How did their awareness influence their attitudes and behavior? What adjustments did they make or refuse to make? What role did reflection and religious faith have in their adjustments?
What role did other slaves' advice and experience have in their adjustments? What were the consequences? What is the difference between adjustment and resistance?
Where do they overlap? What aspects of slavery do these writers emphasize to rebut the view that slavery was beneficial to the enslaved and that most slaveowners were humane?
Why does Frederick Douglass conclude that his growing awareness of slavery as a child, while deeply painful, was "knowledge quite worth possessing"? What aspect of the slave's awareness does Douglass call "a constant menace to slavery"? In what situations did slaves choose to submit to the master's authority without resistance?
When did they choose not to submit? See also Topic 7: What were the consequences of resistance or submission? What forms of sexual abuse did enslaved women and men experience, as documented in these accounts? What effects did the sexual abuse have upon enslaved women and men, upon the masters and their wives and children, and on the slaveowning society overall?
Select incidents and commentary from readings in this Toolbox that exemplify the oft-stated conclusion that, as Harriet Jacobs wrote, "slavery is a curse to the whites as well as to the blacks. How did they respond? To what extent do you agree or disagree with these statements about the master-slave relationship?
Compare the nineteenth-century slave narratives that were written for publication many before emancipation and the twentieth-century interviews with former slaves.
What different insights into the master-slave relationship can be gained from each group? Framing Questions How did enslavement in America affect Africans and their descendants?The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, Or Gustavus Vassa, The African, first published in in London, is the autobiography of Olaudah srmvision.com narrative is argued to be a variety of styles, such as a slavery narrative, travel narrative, and spiritual narrative.
The book describes Equiano's time spent in enslavement, and documents his attempts at becoming an. Personal Story of My Life. 9 Pages Words November my father has had the greatest influence on my life decisions because I analyze the hardships and sacrifices that he has gone through in order for me to have a better life than him.
The hard and valuable lessons he has taught me have given me the power to conquer anything standing. Carly Hallman is a professional writer and editor with a B.A. in English Writing and Rhetoric (summa cum laude) from St.
Edward's University in Austin, Texas. She has worked as a curriculum developer, English teacher, and study abroad coordinator in Beijing, China, where she moved in In college, she was a Gilman Scholar and worked as a staff editor for her university's academic journal.
Personal Narrative: I'm Free - I have far since gave up dreaming about a life as a free being, I have my place in the world, i have my niche and I have a home. There must doubtless be an unhappy influence on the manners of our people produced by the existence of slavery among us.
The whole commerce between master and slave is a perpetual exercise of the most boisterous passions, the most unremitting despotism on the . Personal Narrative a Mother's Influence. Submitted by: Submitted by Andrea17b.
Views: Words: Although my mother was wise and had more life experience, I never took or valued my mother’s advice.
I failed to grow to my full potential. Growing up my mom faced multiple hardships. She was the oldest child of three in a home.