Heroic Slave Rebel in Delaney's Blake or the Huts of America and Douglass' Heroic Slave

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Heroic Slave Rebel in Delaney's Blake or the Huts of America and Douglass' Heroic Slave

The fundamental element of a successful slave rebellion is a heroic slave rebel. Madison Washington of Frederick Douglass' The Heroic Slave and Henry Blake of Martin Delany's Blake or the Huts of America serve as models of that rebel. First, he must possess a will to stay and fight-he must not be content to just run away and gain individual freedom, abandoning his family and friends. Second, he needs intelligence, and preferably education as well, to be able to organize large, complex plans of rebellion. Finally, he must be a natural leader, drawing fellow slaves and free abolitionists to follow him and fight for his cause. Throughout the novels,
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But, as Madison explained to Mr. Listwell, freedom is not complete for some while their loved ones are still held by the bondage of slavery. "Sir, I could not be free with the galling thought that my poor wife was still a slave. With her in slavery, my body, not my spirit, was free" (Douglass 57). The duty he felt towards his wife compelled Madison to travel back into the heart of the South to rescue his wife and her fellow slaves, rather than remaining a runaway. Unfortunately for Madison, his plan to aid his wife's escape failed and she was killed in the attempt. But, he knew that he could not have continued life without at least attempting to gain her freedom. As he said to Mr. Listwell, "I could neither work, eat, nor sleep, till I resolved to hazard my own liberty, to gain that of my wife!" (56). The force of familial ties drove Madison back into slavery and to rebellion. After his wife's death, Madison found himself once again a slave. He would lead a rebellion in which he eventually gained his freedom, but he had no way of knowing that would happen at the time he abandoned his freedom for the sake of her. Without this bond with his family, Madison Washington would have just stayed a runaway and never would have become a heroic slave rebel.

Similarly, Henry Blake, throughout the first half of Blake, successfully ran away to Canada. Instead of traveling alone, Blake took with him Mammy Judy,

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