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Experience of Rev. Thomas H. Jones, Who Was a Slave for Forty-Three Years

Written by a Friend, as Related to Him by Brother Jones

Thomas H. Jones

Publication Year: 2011

Originally published in order to raise money to purchase his son's freedom, Thomas Jones's autobiography first appeared in the 1850s. This version, published in 1885, includes not only Jones's account of his childhood and young adult life as a slave in North Carolina, but also a long additional section in which Jones describes his experiences as a minister in North Carolina, while still enslaved, and then on the abolitionist lecture circuit in Massachusetts and the Maritime Provinces of Canada after he stowed away on a ship bound for New York in 1849. The narrative's most prominent focus is on Jones's ministry in and around Wilmington, North Carolina, before he escaped. The narrative puts a characteristically postbellum emphasis on shared religious devotion and even fondness between African Americans and whites. Perhaps the most compelling scene, however, is Jones's account of his forcible separation from his first wife and their three children, whom he never saw again.

Published by: The University of North Carolina Press

Series: Littlefield History of the Civil War Era


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Title Page, Copyright Page

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About This Edition

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p. 3

This edition is made available under the imprimatur of DocSouth Books, a cooperative endeavor between the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Library and the University of North Carolina Press. Titles in DocSouth Books are drawn from the Library’s "Documenting the American South"...

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pp. 4-12

Thomas H. Jones originally published his memoir in order to raise money to purchase his son's freedom. The first edition of his narrative appeared in the mid-1850s—sources variably assert 1854 and 1855 publication dates—as an abolitionist pamphlet titled Experience and Personal Narrative of Uncle Tom Jones, Who Was for Forty Years a Slave....

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pp. 13-15

The undersigned take pleasure in certifying that they have formed an acquaintance with Brother Thomas H. Jones, since his escape from slavery; having seen and perused his letters and his certificates of church relations, and made all suitable inquiries, most cordially recommend him to the confidence...

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pp. 17-35

I was born a slave. My recollections of early life are associated with poverty, suffering and shame. I was made to feel, in my boyhood's first experience, that I was inferior and degraded, and that I must pass through life in a dependent and suffering condition. The experience of forty-three years,...

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pp. 36-52

I enter now upon a new development of wrongs and woes which I as a slave was called to undergo. I must go back some two or three years from the time when my master died, and I was sold to Owen Holmes. The bitterness of persecution which Master Jones had kept up against me so long...

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pp. 53-81

Part First of my experience ended with my flight to the British provinces, where I remained four years. Of what transpired there and subsequent to my return to the States I shall hereafter speak somewhat in detail, but before doing so I desire to rehearse a few additional experiences of my life...

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pp. 83-93

In consequence of the passage of the Fugitive Slave Law, at the last session of Congress, a general flight from the country of all fugitive slaves in the Northern States has become necessary as a matter of personal safety. Among the number thus compelled to leave is the bearer of this, Thomas...

E-ISBN-13: 9781469602851
E-ISBN-10: 1469602857
Print-ISBN-13: 9780807869536
Print-ISBN-10: 0807869538

Page Count: 94
Illustrations: 2 line drawings, 1 map
Publication Year: 2011

Series Title: Littlefield History of the Civil War Era
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OCLC Number: 647880359
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Experience of Rev. Thomas H. Jones, Who Was a Slave for Forty-Three Years