Cover

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Title Page, Copyright Page

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Contents

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Acknowledgments

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pp. vii-viii

I am grateful to the Leverhulme Trust, whose financial support enabled travel to New York, Virginia, Kentucky, and Toronto, as well as frequent trips to the British Newspaper Library at Colindale in pursuit of Francis Fedric. Staff at the Schomburg...

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INTRODUCTION: Francis Fedric’s Story: Historical and Cultural Contexts

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pp. ix-xxxviii

In 1854, faced with the threat of yet another brutal beating, a fifty-yearold slave in Mason County, Kentucky, decided to make his second attempt to escape. His first attempt, about five years previously, had resulted in his near starvation...

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A Note on the Texts

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pp. xxxix-xxxx

Fedric’s first memoir, Life and Sufferings of Francis Fedric, While in Slavery: An Escaped Slave after 51 Years in Bondage, was published as a twelvepage pamphlet by Tonks and Jones, Birmingham...

Slave Life in Virginia and Kentucky

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CHAPTER I.

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pp. 9-18

I was born in Fauquier County, in Old Virginia. My remembrance, as nearly as I can reckon, extends back to my eighth or ninth year of age. Some little striking incidents occur, now and then to my mind, which happened when I was somewhat younger...

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CHAPTER II.

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pp. 19-31

I had arrived at about my fourteenth year of age, without having been engaged in any definite employment,—running errands, tending the corn-fields, looking after the cattle, in short, doing anything and everything in turns about the plantation...

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CHAPTER III.

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pp. 32-42

The first wedding which I remember being at certainly afforded a good deal of amusement to me and others who were present. I will, therefore, endeavour to describe it as well as I can...

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CHAPTER IV.

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pp. 43-49

In harvest-time, thirty or forty years ago, it was customary to give the slaves a good deal of grog, the masters thinking that the slaves could not do the hard work without the spirits. A great change has taken place now in this respect; many of the planters during...

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CHAPTER V.

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pp. 50-60

The slaveholders, as a body, are very superstitious, and are continually haunted with fears of ghosts and goblins. No one ought, therefore, to wonder at the poor ignorant slave being imbued...

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CHAPTER VI.

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pp. 61-62

A contempt for workers characterizes every one in any way connected with slavery. Nothing seems so degrading to them as to do the slightest menial office, such as making a pie, or tart, or any little article...

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CHAPTER VII.

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pp. 63-71

Work, work, work, one day like another, only I had now been to several prayer-meetings, and had got a knowledge of religion, which comforted me. I thought about the future...

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CHAPTER VIII.

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pp. 72-79

I still had to work on, now hopeless of ever getting my liberty. I was now very busy in the kitchen preserving various kinds of fruits. The fruit trees are generally in bloom in March. There are large orchards containing apple, peach, plum, pear, and damson...

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CHAPTER IX.

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pp. 80-82

Travellers and strangers passing through the Southern States have no conception of the cruelty practised around them; it is kept in the background. My master was ordering two slaves to strip, for the purpose of flogging them for having been out without leave during the night. Two gentlemen rode up to the house...

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CHAPTER X.

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pp. 83-94

Since my first attempt to escape I was so uniformly treated badly, that my life would have been insupportable if I had not been soothed by the kind words of the good abolitionist planter who had first conveyed to me a true knowledge...

Appendix: Life and Sufferings of Francis Fedric, While in Slavery

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pp. 95-112

Bibliography

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pp. 113-119

Index

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pp. 121-124