I Belong to South Carolina
South Carolina Slave Narratives
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: University of South Carolina Press
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Thanks for research and reference assistance are owed to the library staffat Swarthmore Friends Historical Library, especially Christopher Dens-more, who helped trace Clarinda to 1837. Allen Thigpen of Sumter sharedvery useful information about the history of I. E. Lowery for which I amgrateful. The reference and the interlibrary loan specialists at Clemson...
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The goal for editing these texts was simply to make alterations only whenhelpful to contemporary readers and yet not unnecessarily diminish thetone and historical phrasing particular to these narratives. Silent changeswere made in some small instances to remove misleading punctuationand to correct spelling or printing errors that rendered words incompre-...
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In 1846 John Andrew Jackson escaped from a Sumter, South Carolina,plantation. He made his way to the docks of Charleston, where he lurkedaround the wharves, seeking a northbound boat. Suspicious workers con-fronted the black man, demanding to know, “Who do you belong to?”Aware that he could not persuasively identify himself as either a freeman...
Memoirs of the Life of Boston King, a Black Preacher (1798)
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Slave narratives often tell of harrowing journeys on roads besieged with pa -trollers and bounty hunters who were eager to seize unaccompanied blacks,whether free or slaves. Many nineteenth-century slaves escaped by boat ortrain or through the woods primarily to avoid the dangers of public roads.Boston King’s account of trekking by foot through Patriot-held territory in...
"Clarinda: A Pious Colored Woman of South Carolina” (1875)
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Sexual abuse of women was often represented in traditional slave narrativesas a predictable, if horrendous, outcome of a system in which absolutepower was accorded one person over another.* In a complex departure fromthis familiar formulation, the story of Clarinda depicts the protagonist her-self leading others down the path of sexual sin. “By her own confession,” as...
“Recollections of Slavery by a Runaway Slave” (1838)
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...“Recollections of Slavery by a Runaway Slave” tells the story of a young manwho, in the winter of 1837, escaped from slavery near Charleston, SouthCarolina. While the narrator never identifies himself by name, he more thancompensates for that omission by providing the reader with precise accountsof persons, places, and events. These details render his story credible even at...
The Experience of a Slave in South Carolina, by John Andrew Jackson (1862)
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When John Andrew Jackson heard of Mack En glish’s death, he realized thatit was an opportunity to reevaluate God’s plan. En glish, a brutal man slatedto inherit Jackson, was now out of the picture, and for the first time Jacksoncould view his future with some hope. En glish’s death renewed Jackson’sconviction that God loved him, and this thought inspired Jackson eventu-...
My Life in the South, by Jacob Stroyer (1885)
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When he was fourteen years old, Jacob Stroyer was sent along with a teamof other slaves from his Sumter County plantation to serve with the Con-federate army at Fort Sumter.* During the time he spent at the fort in 1864,Stroyer witnessed the death knells of the army that defended the systemthat had encircled his childhood in pain, destruction, and cruelty. He wrote...
Life on the Old Plantation in Ante-Bellum Days, or a Story Based on Facts by the Reverend I. E. Lowery (1911)
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Just a few short years after the Civil War, Rev. I. E. Lowery, a nineteen-year-old former slave, became the first student to be admitted to Claflin Univer-sity in Orangeburg, South Carolina, in the year 1869.* Moreover, as the firststudent at Claflin, he was also the very first student enrolled at a black uni-versity in the entire state. Young Irving Lowery embodied all the hope that...
Before the War and after the Union: An Autobiography, by Sam Aleckson (1929)
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One might think that the hardships of life under slavery would so alienatepeople from their surroundings that they would cast off any allegiance to the place of their bondage. After all, many enslaved people were certainlyhaunted by dreams of escaping and leaving their farms, their states, or theUnited States itself. And yet, as the life of Sam Aleckson illustrates, enslaved...
Afterword—the Slave Experience in South Carolina
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Out of hundreds of published American slave autobiographies, fewerthan a dozen address in any detail the slave experience in South Carolina.In light of the fact that slaves comprised over 50 percent of South Caro-lina’s population throughout the nineteenth century, the historical andliterary value of the few known extant memoirs is tremendous.* I Belong...
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Page Count: 328
Publication Year: 2012