Slavery In America Essay

2592 words - 10 pages

For this assignment we were asked to read the book Modern Medea written Steven Weisenburger, which deals with slavery in the mid-nineteenth century. In my paper I will discuss how the book portrays the daily life as a slave, the issue of freedom, and the racial realities during this time. This particular book tells the story of a slave by the name of Margaret Garner, who one day escaped from her plantation in Covington, KY, and took along with her Robert which was her husband, her four children, and Robert's parents. They loaded up on a stolen wagon and rode it down to the ice covered Ohio River where they would use that to cross over into the state of Ohio which was a free state. Once they had successfully made it across, Margaret and everyone who came along headed to a safe house, which was owned by one of her cousins, until they could connect into the Underground Railroad. While in hiding, the owner of Margaret and her family had tracked the slaves down, and brought along deputies as well as U.S. Marshall's, to bring them back to the plantation in Kentucky in which they belonged. In a desperate attempt to prevent her children from having to return to the harsh life of slavery, she took a knife she had and nearly decapitated her two-year-old daughter killing her, but before she could turn to the other three the deputies had broke in and taken them over.

Black slaves versus white slave owners was a common scene in the South in the years preceding and following the Civil War. Many White men had owned slaves that worked on plantations as disobedient workers, but that is the only side of the story most people hear about slavery, is from the white man. Slaves basically were thought to be ruthless beasts that had absolutely no use besides working at plantations for white men. Slave men worked tirelessly out on the grounds of the plantation, taking care of the crops and livestock (hogs) for their master, and sometimes would be required to build homes on the grounds for their owner. These men were fed for the most part the bare minimum, meals included such items as small portions of grain and the left over cuts of pork from the hogs which they took care of, those cuts were pieces of the ribs, jowls, and knuckles. These meals provides very little nutrients for the men and they lacked the energy and strength which they needed to perform daily tasks and many times didn't grow in stature much from this malnutrition. Slave women had it a little easier in certain ways, but still had many struggles of their own. Instead of working out in the fields like the men, the women would work more on the inside, looking after the masters children so that the wife could focus on other things. The slave women also had to deal with one other thing along with taking care of the master's children, and that is having children of their own so that the children they have can also work on the plantation when they are old enough. This put a lot of strain...

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