My Mother Writes In About Southern Slavery
Michael, interesting post on the slaves’ affection, or lack thereof, for their masters.
I assume you remember that our family members were slave owners “back when.” The stories I heard from my grandmother, who grew up on a plantation, were interesting. She talked of how much she loved playing with the children as she was growing up, how she loved their parents. She always said that their slaves were treated lovingly and did not leave when emancipated. Now that I am older I know that she saw things through a child’s eyes and through the words of her parents. It may be that the slaves did have a loyalty and a love for the owners, but it may be that they stayed because it was the secure thing to do and they did not know what would really happen to them otherwise. of course, if they had been severely mistreated I would think most would take the chance. (Many did, as we have the underground railroad, etc., and quite a history of slaves running away to avoid such mistreatment.)
My grandfather’s side, Rutledge, signers of the Declaration of Independence, also had slaves. His stories are like my grandmother’s. The fact is that the plantations were all different, and though there be many similarities, no one size fits all of how the slaves felt about their masters. Some owners were kind, and some were horrific. No matter what, “owning” another person is not anything we should be touting as a great idea or willing to do ourselves. It should be noted that Christianity did spread through the slave community and that would be a good thing.
Just some thoughts on the matter—we should have a great time discussing this subject!! It really is very interesting and complicated. (A woman I taught with had a portrait of her grandfather, a slave, which was awesome. It is known that some slave owners who really respected a particular slave would have portraits done of them–amazing.)
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