By Charles T. Davis, Henry Louis Gates
Those autobiographies of Afro-American ex-slaves include the most important physique of literature produced by means of slaves in human historical past. The booklet involves 3 sections: chosen stories of slave narratives, relationship from 1750 to 1861; essays reading how such narratives function historic fabric; and essays exploring the narratives as literary artifacts.
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Believing, as we have privately good reason to do, that this book contains, in the language of a faithful interpreter, a true narrative which has fallen from the lips of a veritable fugitive, we have only to regret that there is not an appendix of some sort, containing some documentary evidence to that effect. Quarterly Anti-Slavery Magazine Vol. I, No. IV (1836), 375-393. Narrative, of James Williams ANONYMOUS Amid the strange characteristics of mankind, no one of their moral features is more unaccountable than their complex credulity in some cases, and in others, their marvellous unbelief.
Blassingame published The Slave Community; Plantation Life in the Ante-Bellum South (1972) and George P. Rawick Published from Sundown to Sunup; The Making of the Black Community (1972) that Zinn's call for a profoundly revised account of slavery was responded to in fine and sustained detail. It is to record this adventure in the interpretation of slavery, always of interest to the literary critic, and to resurrect from the footnotes of the historians some of the more crucial pieces in the puzzle of slave historiography, that we have edited this book.
But human society could not long exist were the great body of slaveholders like those whom these narratives describe. . These narratives, without any such intention on the part of the writers, reveal incidentally, but very vividly, some of the necessary evils of this mournful institution. The white children, in great part, grow up uneducated; for schools cannot be sustained in the country by the scattered population which alone slavery allows. In early years, they are exposed to acquiring the habit of indulging the domineering and selfish passions towards those weaker than themselves.