Writing Assignment 3

1726 words - 7 pages

This final writing assignment reflection is for the time period closest to our modern times. These stories, narratives, articles, and speeches give insight into the treatment of slaves, as in Benjamin Drew’s The Refugee: Narrative of Fugitive Slaves in Canada Related by Themselves, the Mississippi Black Code, and George Fitzhugh’s The Blessing’s of Slavery. Even Frederick Douglass’s Independence Day Speech uses July fourth as a foundation for his argument against slavery. Slavery was a prominent topic of the society during this time period and it caused much debate. Furthermore, the Union and Confederate armies were also a topic of much debate. They disagreed on many views and they were fighting for their beliefs on slavery.
Benjamin Drew’s The Narrative of Escaped Slaves shows the treatments of slaves as two women, Mrs. James Steward and Mrs. Nancy Howard, surveyed and experienced it. What they observed from both their own treatment and how they saw others treated left them scarred both physically as well as emotionally. In Mrs. Steward’s account, she was not allowed to go to school or to church. She was beaten over the head by the master until she bled and he would tie her up, confining her to sit in the same location for hours without food. She feared she would suffocate here because she was tied up close to the fire. Her elderly father was abused by the master and kept to work long hours in the summer heat without enough food. Additionally, her sister was forced out of her clothes and sent to work with only what she could find to cover herself up. The master even took her sister’s child away from her. All of Mrs. Steward’s family was physically hurt, and emotionally they all feared the master. Their hearts would jump when they saw him coming and they were constantly worried about what he might do to them next. Furthermore, Mrs. Howard carried with her the same fears and physical scars as the Steward family. She had escaped, but lived with the thought that she would be carried back to slavery one day. Once, when setting the table, Mrs. Howard got the silverware arrangement wrong and forgot the forks. Her master verbally abused her before hitting her on the head with a carving knife causing her bleeding that would not stop and a scar that would never heal. Emotionally, Mrs. Howard believes slavery was the “most wicked thing in the world.” She often had dreams of being taken away to this torture again and woke up scared to death.
The next article on slavery, Mississippi Black Code, discusses the civil rights of freedmen in Mississippi and how the new laws extended some of the racist terms of pre-civil war slavery. While the provisions contained new rights for freedmen, they ended with statements that contained racist ideas that must be upheld in order for the new law to be affective. One example is that now freedmen and negroes can sue or be sued and implead in all the courts of law like the white men can, but they still may not rent or...

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