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Slave Narratives : African American History Before 1877

Decent Essays
Slave Narratives

Juan Sanchez
HIST 221: African American History before 1877
Professor Craig Cook
July 25, 2015

Slavery has always been viewed as one of the most scandalous times in American history. It may seem that the entire institution of slavery has been categorized as white masters torturing defenseless African Americans. However, not every slave has encountered this experience. In this essay I will focus on the life of two former slaves Harriet Smith and Mr. George Johnson and how in some cases their experience were similar as well as different in other aspects. The negative aspects of slave life were unquestionably heinous and for that reason especially, it is also important to also reveal the lives of slaves whom were treated fairly and with respect.
Harriet Smith was interviewed by John Henry Faulk in 1941. Harriet Smith was born into slavery and had no knowledge of her actual age. Smith describes her experience as a slave without receiving any beatings and with a master that treated her and all the other slaves they owned very well. Harriet’s master allowed his slaves to ride his horses to church and while on the plantation. Harriet Smith stated during the interview that she was a great horseback rider as were some of the other slaves. Although she was treated well, she was unable to learn how to read and write just like most of the slaves. Smith worked plowing fields and laying corn, she also picked cotton and stated that she was able to
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