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88CIVIL WAR HISTORY of twenty-eight. Yet his determination to defend his honor led him to search for the fugitives and to refuse to retreat in the face of overwhelming odds. Some African Americans were willing to betray the fugitives, and at least one of them, the mother-in-law of William Parker, requested a return to slavery. The characters in Bloody Dawn are fleshand -blood people. The chapter "Race, Violence, and Law" is especially provocative. In it Slaughter discusses changing attitudes toward the lower class, domestic and personal violence, and their reflection in the courts. He concludes that studying other violent incidents enables us to learn something about "violence and race, gender and class, law and community, and the meaning of the Christiana Riot in its own time and for ours." This is an important, well-written book with a clearly stated point of view, one that can throw light on contemporary violence as well as on bloody incidents in the past. Larry Gara Wilmington College Celia: A Slave. By Melton A. McLaurin. (Athens and London: University of Georgia Press, 1991. Pp. xi, 148. $19.95.) In 1850, Robert Newsome, a sixty-year-old, widowed, slaveholding farmer from Callaway County, Missouri, came to neighboring Audrain County in order to purchase a fourteen-year-old female slave named Celia. On the way back to his farm, he raped the girl. By the time she was nineteen, she had had two children by him and was again pregnant. It is not clear, however, whether this third pregnancy was the result of her sexual relations with her owner or with George, another slave. In any case, George apparently began to pressure Celia to refuse their master's sexual demands. Thus on the evening of June 23, 1855, when Robert Newsome arrived at her cabin, Celia did indeed attempt to resist him, hitting him on the head with a stick and accidently killing him. Confronted with her dead master lying on the cabin floor, she proceeded to burn him up in the fireplace and to hide some of his bones under the floorboards of her cabin. This tragic incident in the twisted history of race and gender relations under slavery became a part of the historical record when it came to trial. Despite Celia's lawyer's best efforts to argue that she, like any other woman in the state of Missouri, had the right of self-defense against a potential rapist, her slave status took precedence over such gendered considerations. She was found guilty and hanged on December 21, 1855. We know of this incident now because of Melton McLaurin's latest book, Celia: A Slave. He has taken the bare bones of the legal record that Celia's case generated and has skillfully mined it for what it can teach BOOK REVIEWS89 us about the larger history of race and gender relations under slavery in the particular historical context of the intensifying sectional crisis of the 1850s. McLaurin begins his story by contextualizing Celia's case within the framework of the race and gender relations generated by the social structure of the slave household. He points out that Robert Newsome had two adult daughters living with him. McLaurin surmises that because of their economically dependent relation to their father, neither of these women felt able, or perhaps even inclined, to oppose their father's sexual exploitation of Celia. Here McLaurin follows the recent scholarship on planter-class women, which has argued that these women were more inclined to identify with the men of their race and class than with enslaved members of their own gender. McLaurin also analyzes the probable motives of George, Celia's lover, and here he presents starkly the dilemma of the enslaved man. At least in this case, slavery robbed George of the power to protect his woman; indeed in the end, it robbed him of his relationship to her altogether. Ultimately what McLaurin's analysis of the structure of this slave household indicates is the way that the racial subordination of black men and the gendered subordination of white women could leave the enslaved black woman, like Celia, alone to confront the naked power of her...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 88-90
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-04
Open Access
No
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