Celia, A Slave : A True Story

1045 Words5 Pages
Philip Chapman
HTY 141 0001
December 10, 2014

Celia, A Slave: A True Story
By: Melton A. McLaurin
Published by: HarperCollins Publishers, 1999

The book Celia, A Slave is the factual story about a girl that takes place in Calloway County Missouri. Celia was brought to court for the murder of her master and disposing of his body in her fireplace. The author, Melton McLaurin, describes in graphic detail her sexual abuse from her master, Robert Newsome, and events leading up to her court appearance on October 9, 1855. This case came at a conflict time in the American Midwest when new territories were being designated as free or slave states, which made it a nationwide issue and gained the attention of politicians. McLaurin used his historical background to provide an accurate description the trial and the impact slavery had on politics in this period of time. In 1800s America, slave ownership was a common practice and expressed an individual’s status in society; the more slaves you owned the higher up the social ladder you climbed. Robert Newsome, a recently widowed yeoman farmer, owned four to five slaves and sought after a more respectable social class. Although he was a farmer and utilized his slaves to work the land it was speculated that Newsome bought Celia, age thirteen or fourteen at the time, because he “… required a sexual partner” (McLaurin 18) and raped her on the trip back to the farm. Newsome gives Celia a job in the kitchen under the supervision of his two

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